Culture Theatre

REVIEW: “My Name is Rachel Corrie” at The Other Room


by Seema Boksh

Performed by Shannon Keogh at The Other Room this October, she gave a moving yet liberal performance on stage. Reflecting upon the late Rachel Corrie as a peaceful protester in Gaza on January 2003.

The show started off inside a dark room, Keogh as Rachel Corrie sleeping on her couch with clothes, books, shoes, everywhere and sand on the floor. Yes, literally real sand on the floor and wearing what appeared to be a grey vest top and black shorts (think they were Pyjamas). This show is about an American girl named Rachel Corrie, who had written emails and diaries about her experiences and journeys as a social activist from beginning to end. She later died at age of 23 by an IDF soldier in 2003 and rumours were spreading at the time that it was no accident. As a result, her memoirs were later first produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in a show directed by Alan Rickman.

The beginning of her performances was amazing and powerful as it started off with Corrie describing herself as the girl she was before joining the International Solidarity Movement. Talking about her bedroom at first, she immediately shows her liberal spirit describing herself as “the creator of interrogating my bedroom”. The audiences and I found it funny from the start. Keogh delivered an excellent performance on stage by acting out an American liberalist and delivering Corrie’s fierce, funny, strong, poetic, very opinionated person and sometimes angry, towards how the Israeli army had treated the Palestinian people, character throughout the entire show. Reflecting the fact that the world in Gaza was a dystopian one, where young children were surrounded by the explosions and gun firings of the military force. Furthermore, during the show we realise why Corrie wanted to join the movement: it was because she wanted to end human suffering, especially of those poor people in Gaza who were being ignored by the people in power in Israel. This show has really given me an insight of what it means to help others, while we see human suffering on our TV screens without doing anything.

Ms Keogh also described intimate details about herself more as a young woman and as a protestor, which offered more of an understanding of the late Rachel Corrie. Even though her friends and family found her journey to be naïve, because afraid of her safety, she knew what the risks were, including endangering her own life.

The layout of the performance, especially the timeline of Corrie’s life was a little confusing. For example, Corrie described her life and journey in Gaza, which was in 2003 and then discuss how she discovered the 9/11 at the time when she was being asked to donated blood in the US. Furthermore, the production of the play was dark and somehow mysterious. Background side effects were very quiet, but somehow created a scenery for certain moods. However, the lighting was excellent as it was changing colours, expressing the scenery of the room to be dramatic.

To sum up, I would recommend watching this play as it really expresses the importance of civil rights activist Rachel Corrie and the differences she made in the community.