Entertainment

Toronto theatre won't stage My Name is Rachel Corrie

Toronto's Canadian Stage Company has decided not to stage My Name is Rachel Corrie, the controversial play about an American peace activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer.

Toronto's Canadian Stage Company has decidednot tostage My Name is Rachel Corrie, the controversial play about an American peace activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer.

It was adecision based on the play's merits, rather than the political controversy that dogs it, CanStage artistic producer Martin Bragg said in an interview with CBC.ca.

"It was an artistic decision," said Bragg,who saw the play inNew York. "It just didn't work on stage."

Based on the diaries of U.S. activist Rachel Corrie, who died trying tostop the Israeli army from destroyinga Palestinian house,the play chronicles her life as an adolescent and young woman.

The play has been divisive since it was first produced in Londonearlier thisyear, with supporters admiring its depiction of young woman developing strong political convictions and others saying Corrie was naive and misguided.

A New York theatre decided againststagingthe play this spring, after Jewish groups saidit expresses anti-Israeli sentiments.

Bragg said he thought the play had promise when he first read it.

"I read through the play and was very moved by it, perhaps in part because I have a teenager just a few years younger than Rachel," he said.

But when he saw the play at New York's Minetta Lane Theatre, where it has been playing since October, he was disappointed.

"The theatre was half full and at the end of the play, there was only lukewarm applause," he said.

CanStage had considered the play for its 2007-8 season, but Bragg said he felt it wasn't strong enough.

CanStage has never shied away from controversy, he said.

"If you cut through the hysteria around this play — which is being created by people who haven't read this play or gone to see it — the real problem was, no one went to see it," he said.

A London production directed by Alan Rickman won critical acclaim for Megan Dodds in the titlerole.

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