I attendeded a performance of ” I am Rachel Corrie” last evening at Purdue University. The Semiotic Society of America is having their annual meeting at this fairly conservative university so I was quite heartened to see an organizer of the SSA encouraging attendance at Katherine Burke’s solo production of this play by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner (produced with permission of Rachel’s family) about a young woman’s life (and death).
This play is not about Palestine and Israel – it about a young woman’s maturation as chronicled through her writings from age twelve through 23 when when her young life ceased was crushed under an Israeli tank in front of a Palestinian home she was attempting to protect as an ISM member. Youth, self-awareness, recognition of mortality, the sadness that comes with wisdom, family, desire for some modicum of fairness in a world that has none — these are all themes, strings, and tendrils of meaning that regularly wander in and out of her expressed thoughts as depicted in her journals, emails, and miscellaneous writings through this amazingly aware and articulate young woman explored more deeply, broadly and with more passion in her short life than do most people who live 4 times longer than she did.
This play is not about all the things the hoopla about it imply. It is about a life. See it if you can. Put on your own production of it. Read it.