Friday, March 07, 2008

Boston Theatre - Rachel Corrie Approaches

New Rep's production of My Name is Rachel Corrie is opening soon. The Boston Globe has the reactions of some to the Rep's decision to pair the play with another work that would balance the ideologies. This practice became known as "contextualizing" during the debate over the first New York production of the work.

Here are some of the reactions the Globe story reports on:

"I think there's a real danger in expecting balance out of art," says
Cindy Corrie, Rachel's mother. "I just don't think art works that way. People create art from their experience and their perspective, and then we get to respond to it. And then maybe someone creates other art that has another perspective. . . . In striving for balance, I think there's a danger in it becoming a kind of censorship, a control over how we communicate and talk about things."

Both she and Rachel's father, Craig, insist that they're speaking in
general terms and not making a judgment about New Rep's decision to contextualize the play. "I do think both plays need their own space. These are pieces of art - entities unto themselves," Craig Corrie says. Yet he acknowledges that the messages of the two plays could reinforce and complement each other, rather than contradict.

Playwright Christopher Shinn ("Dying City"), who was an outspoken critic of New York Theatre Workshop's decision to cancel "Rachel Corrie," says it does a disservice to artists to try to moderate their words by showing alternative perspectives.

"Audiences should be mature enough to see a strongly presented
point of view, and if they don't agree with it, to maintain their disagreement with it, perhaps even be galvanized by it into better articulating their objections," Shinn says.
"There's something disturbingly politically correct about the idea that any strong point of view has to be balanced by an opposing point of view - that we should never present one strong point of view in isolation, but to always make sure that it's balanced and contextualized."

1 comment:

Ian Thal said...

The controversy around My Name is Rachel Corrie is not just that is presents "a strongly presented point of view" but there is some serious dispute over the facts of the events leading up to Ms. Corrie's death.

The disputes include cause of death, whether or not Corrie and her fellow activists were shielding a house or part of a network of smuggling tunnels used for terrorist attacks on Israel, and the political agenda of and tactics employed by the International Solidarity Movement.

Unfortunately, the play isn't about these disputes but. as with most agit-prop, only one particular version of events.