Two local folks have poured tons of time and energy into a moving production that debuts this evening.
The Mission Theatre Ensemble's rendition of My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, will run several times between now and Saturday. The drama tells the story of its namesake, a young American woman who died in 2003 at the age of 23, while standing before and blocking a Palestinian home that was moments away from demolition by an Israeli bulldozer.
Southeast resident Kathryn Silverstein plays Rachel. She is the sole character of the production, which is based on emails and journal entries. It takes audience members on a journey through the young woman's memories and thoughts—a decision Silverstein and director Clark Cameron, of Brewster, made together.
"So much of Rachel is in her head, and of course the play itself is constructed from her own writings," Silverstein writes in this blog. "Early on in the play, she worries about her imagination: 'If you have an overactive fantasy life you just start making things up. You can remember just enough unrelated pieces of trivia to hold up coffee-table conversation and never have to think about anything disturbing or demanding of action.'
As the play progresses, as she deals with the tanks and the shells and the explosions, she takes shelter in her overactive fantasy life. Ironically, it’s this life that allows her to think about the disturbing."
Over the last couple of months, Cameron and Silverstein have spent hours working on the show. They've ran into a few challenges along the way: Hurricane Sandy's impact on rehearsals, and the difficulty of memorizing an entire script. But the issues have worked themselves out.
"The moment I put the script away is always a fresh paradox," Silverstein writes. "...I’m not thinking about the next line or the next ten. I’m talking as it comes to me."
Folks should expect to walk out of the production with not just the details that led up to her death, but a true sense of who Rachel was. It's a goal Cameron and Silverstein are committed to, and the organization has adjusted some logistics to make sure the experience is an attainable one for as many folks as possible.
"We will be offering 'pay what you can' performances on Friday night and Saturday matinee," Cameron said, explaining that tickets are regularly $15, but in the case of these two shows, folks can contribute whatever they'd like. "...This is our way of extending affordable theatre to the community and giving some inexpensive entertainment to relieve storm stress."
The Mission Theatre Ensemble's performance of My Name is Rachel Corrie will take place at the Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association in Southeast at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There is also an afternoon show slated for 2 p.m. Saturday. Click here for more information.