My Name Is Rachel Corrie at The New Theatre

Rachel Corrie was an activist from Washington who was killed by a bulldozer driven by the Israeli Defence Forces while she was in Gaza, attempting to prevent the demolition of a family home. We are told her fate by voice over.  

The play was taken from her diaries, emails etc and edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner. It is an excellent polemic and still relevant today. Accounts of the people Rachel stayed with, asking her to tell people back in America that they were “Good Muslims” is still timely, as are the criticisms of Israel’s attacks on Palestine.

Shannon Ferber takes to the New Theatre stage solo, as Corrie and tells us about her childhood up to her activism in Gaza. The crate-like set has thin red paint and photos on it, and Corrie’s backpack, clothes and sleeping bag are on stage at the beginning. At first seeming like a mad-woman on the brink, Ferber gives us a powerful performance as Corrie is affected by her experiences.

The direction, by Megan Carney, and performance is lacking when we hear about Corrie’s early life, making something that could have been lighter and more humane feel self-indulgent and unnecessary to the show. This is a small criticism in an overall strong piece.

We see moments where Ferber isn’t lit, but the lighting design, by Matt Jones, while she tells us about Palestine is a strong addition to the performance, engaging the audience in the urgency of events and focusing on the outrage felt by Corrie as she realises how even eight year olds are conscious of the role of global powers due to danger felt in their everyday lives.

As a piece of theatre it is very raw, though if it were to be developed further, it would lose the compelling honesty that we get from Corrie’s writings.

Siofra McLiam


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