Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009

"My Name Is Rachel Corrie," comes to Marquette next week

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Rachel CorrieJennifer Shine

The strange schedule of University theatre productions hits a particularly interesting point this coming mid-February weekend as no less than two plays with strong women in title roles make it to the stage to Marquette University.

Two days after Valentine’s Day, Marquette University presents the first of three performances of a politically-charged one woman show—My Name Is Rachel Corrie  Taken directly from Corrie’s diaries, emails and letters, the play by Katherine Viner and film star Alan Rickman’s one woman drama tells the tale of a 23 year-old American activist who was crushed to death by an armored bulldozer operated by Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip in 2003. The play debuted in London three years ago and has been staged a number of places since. The Marquette production will take the stage of Marquette’s Helfaer Theatre on  February 16th and 17th—a stage which also houses a few performances of The Heidi Chronicles earlier that weekend. The Heidi Chronicles runs through February 22nd. (More on that later.)


Marquette senior Jennifer Shine plays the activist as part of a Senior Capstone project directed by Marquette Adjunct Associate Professor Phylis Ravel. Admission is free.

While not quite as big as the Main Stage at UWM, the ample size of the Helfaer makes for an interesting challenge for a show featuring one actor. A few years ago, Cotter Smith made excellent use of the space in his performance as Al Maguire in a bio play written by Dick Enburg. An experienced, professional actor Smith was able to deftly craft a performance that held an audience’s attention. The considerably less experienced Jennifer Shine is aided in the challenge by real thoughts taken directly from the writings of a remarkable woman who tragically died six years ago.

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