'Corrie' canceled in Canada
Play has potential to offend Jewish community
By RICHARD OUZOUNIAN
It's curtains for "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" in Canada.
CanStage, the country's largest not-for-profit theater, has changed its
opinion and decided not to present the show as part of its 2007-2008
Play, about the 23-year-old American activist who died under the wheels
of an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, was originally produced at London's
Royal Court Theatre in 2005.
When James Nicola programmed it this year for the N.Y. Theatre Workshop,
pressure from Jewish board members caused him to cancel the show. It was
eventually produced Off-Broadway, where it ran from Oct. 15 to Dec. 17.
"It didn't seem as powerful on the stage as it did on the page," said
artistic producer Martin Bragg after seeing the production at Gotham's
Minetta Lane Theater.
But in a situation eerily similar to the one that faced Nicola, it
appears that pressure has been brought upon Bragg from some of his board
members not to alienate the Toronto Jewish community.
Jack Rose, from the CanStage board -- while admitting he has neither
read nor seen the script -- said that "my view was it would provoke a
negative reaction in the Jewish community."
And philanthropist Bluma Appel, after whom CanStage's flagship theater
is named, concurred. "I told them I would react very badly to a play
that was offensive to Jews."
Bragg denies he was lobbied by the board in any way and insisted that "I
pick the plays. No one on our board has ever told me what we can and
CanStage posted a $700,000 loss last season and is currently facing a
struggle after producing 10 plays in 2006, none of which met with
critical or audience approval.