Controversial Mideast play to be performed in NY


Producers Dena Hammerstein and Pam Pariseau said in a statement on Thursday the play would open at the off-Broadway Minetta Lane Theatre on October 15, for a limited run to November 19.

The play, directed by Alan Rickman, was a hit in London last year and had been scheduled to open in March at the New York Theatre Workshop.

But just weeks before it was due to open, the theatre told its British partners the production was postponed after discussions with people in the arts, "religious leaders" and "representatives of the Jewish community."

Rickman accused the theatre of censorship, and the decision sparked heated debate about politics and freedom of speech in the arts.

Corrie has long been a controversial figure, with critics accusing her of naiveté and not giving equal weight to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks, and supporters praising her for defending Palestinian civilians.

She died after being hit by a bulldozer. An Israeli investigation concluded her death was an accident.

"We were never going to paint Rachel as a golden saint or sentimentalize her, but we also needed to face the fact that she’d been demonized," Rickman said in the statement.

"We wanted to present a balanced portrait. The activist part of her life is absolutely matched by the imaginative part of her life. I’ve no doubt at all that had she lived there would have been novels and plays pouring out of her."

The play was edited from Corrie’s own words and is a highly personal story from childhood through her time in Gaza.

When it opened in London in April 2005, reviews were generally positive, although The Times newspaper said some scenes offered a one-sided portrayal of the Middle East conflict it called "unvarnished propaganda."

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