Photo by Don Kellogg

Sunday, December 3, 2006

My Name is Rachel Corrie

Naive. If I came away with one thing from this show it was that Rachel Corrie was naive.

Reluctantly, I went to the show, expecting to hear a bunch of political babble and administration bashing. This is the main reason I had stayed away so long. I'm not big on these things. I must say that despite my predisposition, I felt I saw a suburb one woman show. It was insightful, powerful, personal, and believable. I saw Kerry Bishe play Rachel. She is billed as the person who does "select performances" (I scoured the playbill and did not see anyone listed as "understudy", so take that for what it's worth).

Right off the bat, I was handed a little white card on the way in the theater. Interesting, I thought. I wonder how complex this show is going to be that they have to hand me a card to "help put the show in context"? Those really were his words. I read through it, eager to find out what it was that i had to be told. When I finished it, I quickly realized that this card was not at all associated with the show and that it was what someone might call "the other side of the coin".

First off, this show is about the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Since this card seemed to take the Israeli point of view - I surmised that the show was going to probably take the Palestinian Point of view. Indeed it did.

I was actually once again surprised. The show was not a Bush-Bashing or specifically political work. It was rather the poignant retrospect of a young girl's life and struggles with the world around her.

So how do we get to Naive? Well, it is my interpretation that Rachel Corrie was indeed an activist. She cared deeply about people, about peace, about solving the problems of the world. But here's where I think the naive part comes in. She came of age in the time of one of the larger Israeli -Palestinian conflicts. She, as an American (Internationalist), tried to show the world the plight of the Palestinian people. She lived with them in Gaza. She seemed to take the point of view that they were the "innocents". What I find hard to believe is that she blindly believed this. What about Hamas? What about the underground tunnels where bombs and arms were smuggled in? She seemed to be so naive about it that all she saw were the innocent people caught in the middle and associated the entire conflict to be against them.

Rachel Corrie was a compassionate, peaceful, and deeply caring person. Kerry Bishe did an outstanding job of making us believe this. I'm pretty sure that she was young, impressionable, and used by the Palestinians for her beliefs and convictions. In the end, that is what killed her. She took her bravery and ideals to the grave - fighting for something she really thought was just.

More than many of us can say...