After four years away from the Philippine theater scene, acclaimed actress Monique Wilson stars in a controversial new play--“My Name is Rachel Corrie,” produced by the New Voice Company--at the Music Museum on September 3 and 4.
Rachel Corrie was an American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while undertaking non-violent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition.
Why did a 23-year-old woman leave her comfortable American life to stand between a bulldozer and a Palestinian home? “My Name Is Rachel Corrie”, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie herself, tells the story of her short life and sudden death from the words she left behind.
Shortly Corrie's her death, several of her e-mails home from Gaza were published in a number of media outlets, including in the Guardian UK. British actor and director Alan Rickman was so moved by them that he approached the Royal Court Theatre about finding a way to tell Rachel’s story onstage.
A year after her death, Corrie’s family sent the theater 184 pages of documents: copies of Rachel’s letters, e-mails and journals, some dating back to her childhood. Guardian journalist Katharine Viner was brought on board to work with Rickman at editing the material into a play. The two decided to let Rachel’s story be told in her own words.
“Rachel Corrie found a way to be political in a depoliticised age; she cared passionately for injustice, and unlike many of us, she tried to do something about it. There are few such figures in our commercialised culture,” said Viner in an interview in The Guardian.
In April 2005, “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” directed by Rickman and performed by Megan Dodds, opened at the Royal Court Theatre, and became the fastest-selling play in the theater's history, selling out two complete runs before transferring to the West End the following year. The play was critically acclaimed and won the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards for Best Director, Best New Play and Best Solo Performance.
“Funny, passionate, bristling with idealism and luminously intelligent, Corrie emerges as a bona fide hero for this brutalised world of ours,” said Time Out. “Theatre can’t change the world. But what it can do, when it’s as good as this, is to send us out enriched by other people’s passionate concern,” echoed The Guardian.
The Asian premiere of “My Name is Rachel Corrie” will be directed by New Voice Company associate artistic director Rito Asilo, with light design by Martin Esteva, set design by Denis Lagdameo and technical direction by Jamie Wilson.
“My Name is Rachel Corrie” celebrates Monique’s 30 years in theater, and New Voice Company’s 16th anniversary. The Manila production begins an Asian tour of the play.
Monique, fresh from a recent trip to Palestine and back in Manila for a few weeks to star in the play, is currently Head of the MA/MFA Acting for International students course at the East 15 Acting School in England, where she is now based. East 15 Acting School is a member of the Conference of Drama Schools in the UK. She has just finished directing Martin Crimp’s “Attempts On Her Life” at the Actor’s Centre, London, and Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Dona Rosita the Spinster” at the Battersea Arts Centre, London. Both productions featured international artists from all over the world.
For tickets, call the New Voice Company 8966695, 8965497, 8990630; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.newvoicecompany.com. Tickets are also available at Ticketworld outlets (8919999). For more information on Rachel Corrie, visit www.rachelcorriefoundation.org.