Theater Still Hopeful on 'Rachel Corrie'

A prominent off-Broadway theater says it still hopes to present "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," a politically charged play about a young American student who was killed while trying to stop the Israeli destruction of a Palestinian home in Gaza.

"We have asked ... if we can do the play next season," James Nicola, artistic director of New York Theatre Workshop, said Monday in a statement.

Initially, the theater had planned the production for this month, but then reconsidered, drawing charges of censorship from its two creators, Katherine Viner, features editor of The Guardian newspaper in London, and actor Alan Rickman, who also directed the one-woman show.

"With a schedule largely driven by ... Rickman's pre-existing film commitments, we had less than two months to consider mounting `My Name Is Rachel Corrie,'" Nicola said.

"As we moved very quickly forward with this highly ambitious timeline, we discovered Rachel Corrie's time in Gaza was the subject of much polarized debate. It became apparent to me that by presenting the play on the current schedule, this debate might become the event instead of the play itself."

Viner and Rickman based the one-woman show on the writings of the 23-year-old Corrie, who died when struck by an Israeli bulldozer in March 2003. The play was a hit last season for the Royal Court Theatre in London, where it was nominated for an Olivier Award.

"I was devastated and really surprised," Viner told The New York Times last week after the postponement. "I think they're misjudging the New York audience. It's a piece of art, not a piece of agitprop."

Instead of playing New York, the one-woman show, which stars Megan Dodds, will open March 30 in London's West End at the Playhouse Theatre.

New York Theatre Theater Workshop, located in the East Village, has been the home to such musicals and plays as "Rent" and "Dirty Blonde," as well as the works of playwrights Tony Kushner, Caryl Churchill and Paul Rudnick.

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