In 2003, an idealistic 23-year-old American college student named Rachel Corrie traveled from Olympia, Wash., to the Gaza town of Rafah. Her dream of connecting her hometown with Rafah as sister cities became – like her – a casualty of war.
On March 16, 2003, Corrie was killed, run over and crushed by an Israeli bulldozer that was flattening Palestinian homes as the army attempted to eliminate tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza.
“My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a one-woman play that tells the story of that naïve young person, who learned more about life and death in three months than in her previous 22 years. Ashley Malloy stars in the production, which will be presented Monday, April 27, at California Stage in Sacramento.
The sister-city program was part of a senior-year college project. Corrie had organized for anti-war and global-justice issues in Olympia and became a member of the International Solidarity Movement, a nonviolent Palestinian-led organization opposed to Israeli military actions in the occupied territories.
In Rafah, she and other ISM activists protested – physically by their presence and often as human shields against Israeli snipers — to prevent the Israeli army’s demolition of Palestinian homes. On March 16, Corrie stood, then sat, in front of an approaching bulldozer, certain it would stop. It didn’t.
What happened to the young woman on that day is contested. Corrie herself is depicted in contradictory terms. Some call her an idealistic do-gooder; others say she was a supporter of Arab terrorists. The debate goes on.
“My name is Rachel Corrie” tells her story in her own words. The one-woman show, crafted from Corrie’s journals, e-mails and letters home, by playwrights Katherine Viner and Alan Rickman (yes, that Alan Rickman, the actor) adds to the debate.
Since her death, Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, have established the Rachel Corrie Foundation to “promote peace and raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians.” They will participate in a discussion after the performance here.
“My Name Is Rachel Corrie” will be presented at 7 pm Monday, April 27, at California Stage, 2509 R Street. California Stage and Resurrection Theatre present the touring production in conjunction with the local group Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestinian American League. Tickets are $20 general and $15 for students and seniors. For tickets or for more information, call (916) 223-9568 or go to rachelcorriesacramento.bpt.me.