Groundbreaking Drama MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE Coming to Magic Theatre
The critically acclaimed New York production, My Name Is Rachel Corrie, comes to San Francisco's Magic Theatre for a limited run.
Created by actor/director Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner, editing material from Corrie's journals, letters, and emails to family and friends, this compelling work follows the 23-year-old as she describes leaving her home in Olympia, Washington to work as an activist in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Corrie captured international attention when she stood her ground in the path of an armored bulldozer.
My Name Is Rachel Corrie, directed by Jonathan Kane and starring Charlotte Hemmings, will be presented April 27-May 14, 2017 (press opening April 29) at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco. There will be post-show talkbacks at select performances featuring the director and star (April 29), and with Rachel's parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie (May 3 & 4). For tickets ($25-$50) and more information the public may visit MagicTheatre.org or call (415) 441-8822.
My Name Is Rachel Corrie creates a portrait of a messy, articulate, Salvador Dali - loving chain smoker (with a passion for the music of Pat Benatar), who set out to follow her ideals. In three sold-out London runs, the piece has been surrounded by both controversy and impassioned proponents, and has built a revolutionary call to support political work, and the difficult discourse it sometimes creates.
My Name Is Rachel Corrie made its debut at London's Royal Court Theatre where it became the fastest sold-out show in that theatre's 50-year history, with nightly lines outside the box office of people seeking tickets. Three sold-out runs in London, including a West End transfer, were followed by a New York production. The play has now been performed in 20 countries, including Israel, and been translated into 12 languages. The San Francisco production, to be presented by Sawtooth Productions, will feature Charlotte Hemmings reprising her New York performance as Rachel Corrie, with direction by Jonathan Kane. Under Kane's insightful direction, Hemmings recreates Corrie's activism and understanding of a continually heated and complex situation.
There will be a post-show talkback with Hemmings and Kane on April 29, as well as post-show talkbacks with Rachel's parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie, on May 3 and May 4 at the Magic Theatre.
Charlotte Hemmings (Rachel Corrie), who performed the role of Rachel in the New York production, has also been seen as Maggie in Lend me a Tenor, and Rosanna in Cindy Lou Johnson's Brilliant Traces at the NexStage Theater. Hemmings other credentials include A Little Night Laughter, The Actors Nightmare, and Light up the Sky. She has been seen on screen as Nell Shipman in the documentary film "A Girl from God's Country." Hemmings has also been a part of the Sun Valley Film Festival screenwriter's lab for the last two years.
Jonathan Kane (Director) is a native to New York City, who now splits his time between New York and Sun Valley, Idaho. In New York he presented a revival of Mabou Mines Obie award- winning play A Prelude To Death In Venice and accompanied this with a concert version of Lee Breuer and Bob Telson's The Warrior Ant at the Puck Building in Soho. In Sun Valley he has directed more than 70 play readings. He has also presented The Sun Valley Performing Arts Festival, Seduced, Brilliant Traces, A Little Night Laughter, The Odd Couple, and This Is Our Youth. "I am so excited to bring this amazing story of a young woman that paid the ultimate price for literally standing up for what she believed in," says Kane. "This play seems even timelier now as the divides in our society continue to plague us."
Katharine Viner (Co-Adapter) became the first female Editor-in-Chief in the 195-year history of The Guardian, when she assumed the helm in June 2015. She joined The Guardian as a writer in 1997, later becoming designated deputy editor of The Guardian as well as launching the award-winning Guardian Australia in 2013, and acting as Editor-in-Chief of Guardian US, based in New York. She is listed as one of Forbes 100 most powerful women. Viner created My Name is Rachel Corrie in collaboration with Alan Rickman, who appeared at London's Royal Court Theatre with an edition of The Guardian featuring the powerful last emails of Rachel Corrie. Said Viner, "Alan had recognized that Rachel's voice could work brilliantly on stage, and I was commissioned to help him turn her words into a play. The play we edited together had a greater impact than we ever imagined, with two runs at the Royal Court, a West End transfer, and productions around the world, from New York to Haifa."
Alan Rickman (Co-Adapter) was an English actor and director, known to millions around the world for his role as Professor Snape in the "Harry Potter" films. He co-adapted My Name Is Rachel Corrie and directed all three London productions, as well as its New York debut at Minetta Lane. A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and frequent star of the London and New York stages, Rickman also portrayed characters in dozens of memorable films including Hans Gruber in "Die Hard," Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," Colonel Brandon in "Sense and Sensibility," and Harry in "Love Actually." Rickman passed away, at the age of 69, in January 2016. According to Viner, when asked shortly before his death about his proudest Royal Court moment, Rickman "said it was when he took Rachel Corrie's parents outside the front of the theatre to show them their late daughter's name in neon lights."
Prior to the New York production Rickman noted in a public statement, "We were never going to paint Rachel as a golden saint or sentimentalize her, but we also needed to face the fact that she'd been demonized. We wanted to present a balanced portrait. The activist part of her life is absolutely matched by the imaginative part of her life." Craig Corrie added, in a posthumous tribute to Rickman, "When Alan and Katharine Viner crafted My Name is Rachel Corrie from Rachel's writing, and he shepherded it through those first four theatre runs, they managed to capture Rachel's energy, her humor, and her ability to question herself, as well as her world. For those who did not know Rachel but only knew of her, the play gave back to my daughter her humanity - no small achievement." Noted Lyn Gardner in her Guardian review, "just occasionally you see a show in the theatre and hear a voice that, like Rachel's, vibrates with passion and idealism, and that teaches us all how to live."
Photo Credit: Kirsten Shultz