Injustice is like stale air at a polite party. Many may turn their nose up at it, but few will address the issue.
So what does it take for a young individual with a long – possibly healthy – life before her to demand fairness in the face of near-certain death? My Name is Rachel Corrie, which runs at The Courtyard on March 22 and 23, rustles through the writings of the Olympia, Washington, born activist who died at the age of 23, defending the home of a Palestinian on the Gaza Strip.
What makes her tale so potent is that it could be anybody’s, says Padraig Downey, director and producer of the play, which is set in 2003. “Rachel is really like one of us as she was a normal girl with a healthy curiosity and strong social conscience. She knew nothing much about Gaza or Palestine, but felt that she could make a difference. Her story could be any one of our stories and that's what makes it all the more moving. Her gift to us is the words she left behind and the example she set through her actions.”
Farrah Yasin, a Dubai-based Palestinian actor who grew up in Canada, plays Rachel in the one woman show. “Her [Corrie’s] words offer such incredible insight into life in Gaza, the real-life situation there and the undeniable dignity of the people in light of horrendous opposition and consternation.” And Yasin, says Downey, embodies her hope and despair “beautifully.”
Theatre might not be able to change the world but it can change people
To transport you to the situations faced by Corrie, Downey uses “projections, images, video and sound effects to enhance the visceral experience so that the audience will truly "feel" everything”.
Be warned. This is stepping into a minefield: death and destruction, tears and blood come at every turn. The idea is not to sugarcoat the horrors of war. “The play is raw,” says Downey – and it’s so for a purpose. To show the true face of conflict. To explore the cost of loss. “Theatre might not be able to change the world but it can change people,” he adds. And that’s the first nudge in the right direction.
Every person deserves to feel safe, says Downey. “Gaza is like an open air prison; people cannot get in or out; they do not have access to clean and sanitary water or even the ocean. The blockade has intensified over the years meaning people cannot get in or out. Hope is dying,” he says.
“Following in Rachel Corrie's footsteps, we all can make a difference. This is one thing I can do; tell this story,” he says.
This 90-minute telling may not be the most comfortable snapshot to watch. But, like living and defending life, someone’s got to do it.
Don’t miss it!
‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ runs at The Courtyard on March 22 and 23. Admission to see the show requires prior registration.