DramaReviewSouth West

My Name is Rachel Corrie – The Other Room, Cardiff

Writer: Taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie
Director: Chelsey Gillard
Reviewer: Beth Steer

With the permission of the family of Rachel Corrie, a young American activist working for the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza, My Name is Rachel Corrie has been edited from Rachel’s writings. Based on her journals and emails, it tracks her journey from life as an average teenager, growing up in Olympia, Washington, to her contentious death in Gaza – standing in front of a bulldozer that threatened to destroy civilian houses.

Set in the late 90s and early 2003s, My Name is Rachel Corrie tracks the United States’ involvement with the conflict between Israel and Palestine – with the protagonist pitting herself firmly on the Palestinian side.

Presented by Graphic, a theatre company dedicated to creating inspiring pieces based on visual source material, the play explores the nature of the human condition – and the frustrating hypocrisy of society.

A one-woman, one-act show, Rachel (Shannon Keogh), marvels at the difference between the trivial problems she faced growing up in the US, compared to the poverty and desolation she’s now witnessing first hand in Gaza. It’s tough going, and Keogh does well to remain on stage – almost on the spot – for a full 90 minutes, in what is essentially a continual monologue.

The creative is simple, but effective – the stage is about four metres square, and the lighting continually changes, reflecting day and night, and the passing of time.

The topic is heavy, the performance is angry – and it’s a bit like being shouted at while rooted in your seat for 90 minutes. It’s a little contrived at times, and, for greater impact, some of the diatribes could be shorter. It’s uncomfortable – and a bit disconnected.

My Name is Rachel Corrie isn’t one to watch if you’re after an enjoyable night at the theatre. But, the ending is powerful, and it probes uncomfortable questions about the complicity of silence, and the politics of conflict. It’s incredibly intense – and will certainly make you think.

Runs until 21 October 2017 | Image: Keiran Cudlip

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Intense and uncomfortable

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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