The Dramatic Repertory Company delivers a powerful wake-up call to the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with a production based on the real-life journals of peace activist Rachel Corrie.
For the average American, exposure to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is limited to headlines in the paper and brief stories on the evening news. With the turn of a page, or the push of a button, the horrors are out of sight, and often out of mind.
Olympia, Wash., native Rachel Corrie witnessed the devastation and violence firsthand, and ultimately fell victim to it in Rafah, Egypt, on March 16, 2003. She was just a month shy or her 24th birthday.
“My Name Is Rachel Corrie” is culled from her impassioned writings, edited by British film star Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, deputy editor of The Guardian, a British newspaper.
The 90-minute, one-act performance holds the audience’s attention with a nonstop monologue about Rachel’s life and the harrowing events leading up to her untimely death.
Casey Turner stars in the Dramatic Repertory Company’s rendition of the one-woman production, delivering a performance that is passionate, sobering and awe-inspiring. She barely pauses to take a breath during the entire performance, even when changing her clothes behind a screen at the back of the stage. The amount of dialogue is mind-boggling, and she doesn’t miss a beat.
The monologue flits backward and forward in time, touching on events and people that defined Rachel’s life and personality. As the play goes on, the journal entries become daily, detailing the terrifying events in the Gaza Strip.
Tears welled up in Turner’s eyes Saturday as she spoke of families with young children cowering under gunfire, trying to escape from houses being leveled by bulldozers.
An onslaught of horrific verbal images included greenhouses and farms being razed, wells being destroyed, houses getting riddled with bullets, unarmed civilians being gunned down, checkpoints turning a 45-minute drive into 12 hours, and people trapped, unable to flee to safety.
Two real news clips solidify the poignancy of the production: Rachel as a young girl speaking at a conference and footage of her final moments.
“My Name Is Rachel Corrie” is a hard-hitting performance that personalizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The production forces the audience to hear and understand the shocking events that the people are forced to endure on a daily basis.
Confronted by Turner’s Rachel Corrie, it’s impossible to ignore the atrocity of the situation. The images described leave an indelible imprint on the mind.
April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at: