Monday, April 1, 2013
Theater review: Barrett Nash stuns in Second Thought Theatre’s My Name is Rachel Corrie
She has a rare gift, able to portray a buoyant young woman without resorting to histrionics, or exploiting youthful naivete.
OAK LAWN My Name is Rachel Corrie begins in the chaos of Rachel’s bedroom, clothes strewn, books toppling, an ongoing collage on the bright red walls, laid out like a rebus. Rachel confides in us. Spilling details about anything and everything in her life as a student, daughter, artist, sister, activist, writer, intellectual, upper-middle class ingénue. Born and raised in Olympia, Washington, she is clearly from a liberal background, but more to the point, she is sentient, perceptive, conscientious, emotionally invested and blind to labels. It’s a voluptuous rush, listening to Barrett Nash engage this tumultuous, vibrant, achingly frank 90-minute monologue, unabashed and intuitively raw. She breaks into spontaneous song or hops like a teenage girl at a sleepover, and the pleasure is so palpable, so fizzy, for us and for her. Nash never resorts to histrionics or kitsch, she never exploits Corrie’s persona with preciousness or mugging. Nash has a rare gift and skill for exposing her frailty and despair, tapping into the fierce moral imperative that makes Rachel Corrie such an astonishing, overwhelming experience.
We participate in Rachel’s journey as she moves from aimlessness to focus, scattered to purposeful. In college she becomes involved in world politics, and subsequently travels to Raffah, the southern part of the Gaza Strip, to join in peaceful resistance to the annihilation of Palestinian communities. She stays in their homes, laughs with their children, shares in their meals. When she expresses horror over the disgraceful conditions the people must live with, she doesn’t sound naïve or sheltered, but genuinely wounded on their behalf. Detached from partisan affiliation, she’s not anti-Israeli, but neither does she excuse their atrocities. By denouncing ruthless, despicable tactics, she evokes a moral cogency beyond nationalism and xenophobia.
My Name is Rachel Corrie imparts the true story of a young woman untainted by cynicism, innocent enough to believe that a bulldozer, determined to destroy another home, would stop if she confronted it. That the man behind the controls retained enough conscience to respond, when she demanded his accountability. Nash makes Rachel Corrie a testimonial to the exquisite grace that we are capable of, when we find redemption in our flawed, ridiculous, glorious humanity.
Pegasus News Content partner - Christopher Soden, Dallas GLBT Arts Examiner
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