Saturday, June 07, 2008

Review round-up: Black Watch, Rachel Corrie, Love's Labour's Lost

Busy time for theatre critics. Shaw and Stratford have segued into Luminato in Toronto... Then I'm off to Vancouver for Magnetic North tomorrow morning. Here are some reviews I haven't had a chance to post over the last few days:

- Love's Labour's Lost at Stratford - 2/4 stars.

- The National Theatre of Scotland's visiting production of Black Watch gets 3.5/4 stars. (You'll find a couple of versions of this review up on the Globe's website from different editions - it was my first opportunity to file an overnight review for the Globe.)

- And the contentious My Name Is Rachel Corrie gets 3/4 stars:
[I]s the play itself as one-sided as its critics say?

Absolutely, though it never pretends to be more than the personal writings of one individual who identified with the Palestinian cause.

We might want Corrie to view the conflict through a wider lens, to not excuse suicide bombings the way she does, but we're stuck with her the way she actually was.

To a certain extent, anyway. Rickman and Viner have watered down Corrie's views to make her more palatable, a questionable decision that seems politically rather than artistically motivated. The references to "chronic, insidious genocide" that appear in her published letters, for instance, are omitted in the passages quoted here. The decision not to present Corrie with all her warts (some do remain) is problematic, verging on the propagandistic. [Read the whole thing]
What I'm referring to here is a line that appears in her letters as: "Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature."

It ends up in the play as: "Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature."

What do you think? Attempt to whitewash or judicious editing?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the gracious review of Black Watch. We are workign on the sound issues... Just a quick note to say the actor credited in your review as the writer should be Michael Nardone, not Paul Higgins. Paul appeared in earlier production of the show.

Best wishes
Neil Murray
National Theatre of Scotland

MK Piatkowski said...

Black Watch runs 1:50? Crap. I won't get to see it then. Why does Luminato have to correspond with the run of Twelve Angry Men? :(

As for Rachel Corrie, I vote for judicious editing. (Keeping in mind that I haven't seen it yet.) Doesn't the rest of the play clarify her feelings about what is going on? If so, then you don't need it in a passage where you're focusing on a very personal discovery she's making. (Her fear.)

J. Kelly said...

Hi Neil - Thanks for pointing that out. I'm afraid the press kit I was provided with had the old cast information...