Roger L. Simon

Raising Rickman

Following in the grand tradition of thespian political self-congratulation, noted British actor Alan Rickman has directed a new play called My Name is Rachel Corrie. Ms. Corrie, for those who don’t know, was the 23-year old American activist allegedly killed in Gaza two years ago while trying to prevent an Israeli army bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian house. I say allegedly because, as Clive Davis dryly notes in his London Times review, “the exact details of her final moments were hotly disputed, a point not acknowledged in this production.”

Hotly, indeed. If the facts of the Rachel Corrie story prove to be as “accurate” as those of the notorious Mohammed al-Dura case, as some are now suggesting they are, Mr. Rickman deserves to be taken behind the woodshed for a good old-fashioned public school caning.

Meanwhile, we rely on the conclusion of Mr. Davis’ review:

As for the scenes set in Israel – brilliantly evoked by Hildegard Bechtler’s bullet-pocked concrete set – an element of unvarnished propaganda comes to the fore. With no attempt made to set the violence in context, we are left with the impression of unarmed civilians being crushed by faceless militarists. Early on, Corrie makes a point of informing us that more Israelis have been killed in road accidents than in all the country’s wars put together. As she jots down thoughts in her notebook and fires off e-mails to her parents, she declares that “the vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian non-violent resistance”. Even the late Yassir Arafat might have blushed at that one.

BTW, Clive Davis also blogs.

UPDATE: Melanie Phillips rounds up the usual (review) suspects on this “progressive” new drama.