Arts Canned in Canada
posted by December 22 at 10:05 AMon
Toronto’s major theater has scrapped plans to make My Name Is Rachel Corrie the centerpiece of its 2007 season.
Bragg’s version: When he read the script (based on Corrie’s journals) he had an emotional reaction and was “absolutely reduced to tears” as he told the Star’s Richard Ouzounian five weeks ago. But later when he went to see it on stage at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York’s Greenwich Village (where it recently closed) it fell flat. The theatre was half-empty, and there was no standing ovation at the end. “The truth is it just didn’t seem as powerful on stage as it did on the page — and the audience wasn’t buying it.”
The alternate version being told among CanStage insiders: Members of Bragg’s board were alarmed by negative response from influential supporters of the theatre, especially in Toronto’s Jewish community, who were canvassed for their opinion. Many were dismayed and openly critical when confronted with the prospect of the city’s flagship not-for-profit theatre producing a play that could be construed as anti-Semitic propaganda, especially during a frightening period when Israel’s existence is threatened by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Calling the play “anti-Semitic propaganda” is a bit much, but Corrie, scheduled to open at the Rep in March, is certainly stirring up the hornets but the controversy isn’t helping to sell tickets—The New York production closed ahead of schedule.
Anyone who says the Rep doesn’t know how to take a risk is now officially wrong.