She joined the International Solidarity Movement in January 2003, and by March 16 that year she was dead. Her name was Rachel Corrie. She was a foreign aid worker from Olympia, Washington, and there was nothing extraordinary about her except this: when she saw injustice, she did something about it.
This year, the theatre department’s September Project will be a production of “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” a play taken from the writings of its namesake and edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner. Theatre department head Mark Hallen and former Dean of Arts and Sciences, Betsy Morgan have adapted the play into the version that will appear on stage in mid-September. The adapted script contains added material from Rachel Corrie’s collected writings “I Stand Alone.”
“We wanted the audience to know why she makes the choices she makes,” Hallen said. In the original script Rachel’s life in America and her two months as a foreign aid worker in Gaza are given equal stage time. According to Hallen, he and Morgan have re-distributed this information and they have put more focus on her life before she went to Gaza. Compiled by the famous actor at a time when many Americans harbored hard feelings toward the Middle East, the original script, Hallen felt, was too “preachy” and “yelly.”
“Our intention was to incorporate more of what makes her interesting” Hallen said. “There was no authoring. Just editing and placing.”
The part of Rachel Corrie will be played by Eastern alumna Kaylee Goodwin ’10. No stranger to Eastern’s stage, Goodwin is enthusiastic about the role, but slightly apprehensive.
“It’s been a lot harder to relate to her,” Goodwin said.
Due to its incorporation of content from the book, this play, and specifically the role of Rachel, has added a level of difficulty for Goodwin. “After reading her book I feel like I have more of a duty to her,” she said.
The remainder of parts will be divided up between senior John Schultz and Betsy Morgan. Schultz portrays at least eight different figures throughout the play. Despite that, Schultz identifies most with the character Rachel.
“We’re getting her through her questions throughout the play,” Schultz said. “We keep asking ‘did I choose this’?” To this he can relate. Schultz was not happy with the script at first. However, the adaptation has grown on him. “Whether or not I like it, I still want to be in the room making art with (these people),” Schultz said.
Coming at a time when many are still feeling the effects of conflict, this production will be coupled with talk backs and film screenings related to issues dealt with in the play. Present at these events will also be Dr. Bret Kincaid and Dr. Andrew Bush, both of whom served as project advisors for the production.
“My Name is
Sept. 23-25, 8 p.m.
Sept. 26, 3 p.m.