Bulldozed by Naivete
Terror advocate dies in accident. Atrocious drama ensues. BY TERRY TEACHOUT
Saturday, October 21, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
NEW YORK--Politics makes artists stupid. Take 'My Name Is Rachel Corrie,' the one-woman play cobbled together from the diaries, emails and miscellaneous scribblings of the 23-year-old left-wing activist who was run over by an Israeli Army bulldozer in 2003 while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian house in the Gaza Strip. Co-written and directed by Alan Rickman, one of England's best actors, 'Rachel Corrie' just opened off-Broadway after a successful London run. It's an ill-crafted piece of goopy give-peace-a-chance agitprop--yet it's being performed to cheers and tears before admiring crowds of theater-savvy New Yorkers who, like Mr. Rickman himself, ought to know better.
So why don't they? Because Palestine is the new Cuba, a political cause whose invocation has the effect of instantaneously anesthetizing the upper brain functions of those who believe in it. Take Mr. Rickman, who evidently intended 'My Name Is Rachel Corrie' to be a pro-Palestinian equivalent of 'The Diary of Anne Frank.' Alas, wishful thinking is not the stuff of exciting theater. The script is disjointed to the point of incoherence, the staging crude and blatant, while Megan Dodds's performance as Rachel Corrie is frankly cartoonish.