We have all been outraged by the excesses of the powerful, or concerned about the lack of what we perceive as essential. Indignation is about as far as most of us get, but a few go further. Some individuals believe that something needs to be done and that they can make a difference. Many of these have been women. Florence Nightingale provided a nursing service in circumstances where none had previously existed. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. More recently Pussy Riot, incensed by Putin’s increasing lack of willingness to accept comment, find themselves jailed.
And then there is Rachel Corrie.
Rachel Corrie, from Washington State, was from a conventional family. She had gone to Palestine as part of her senior-year college assignment to connect her home town with Rafah in a sister cities project and while there she had engaged in non-violent efforts to prevent the Israeli army’s demolition of Palestinian houses. She was crushed, quite possibly knowingly, by an Israeli military tank.
And hence the play!
Zoe Faithfull’s performance as Rachel is a delight. During the first half she shares Rachel’s youthful experiences and dreams with us. She is a bright, but ordinary, American teenager. She is not driven by political commitment or ideology, but, when in her early twenties, she discovered how people live their reduced lives in Palestine next to the confident and privileged lives of the Israelis her humanity and common decency drove her to react in their interests. Surely she will be seen as an unthreatening U.S. citizen and the Israeli Military will retreat. They do not!
A single actor has peculiar potential for drawing us into their story and creating empathy. Zoe succeeds wonderfully in doing this.
Two tiny things! At her most introspective Zoe becomes a little difficult to hear and the video of the four year old real Rachel which finished the evening needed more effective projection.
Many local theatres are empty and devoid of life on a Saturday evening. Why are they not clamouring for a visit from Rachel? What a shame that this excellent production of Greg Cole’s will see only four performances.