The Young Vic ,2017
I am usually sceptical of one-man shows as they generally lack energy, charm and other elements that go hand in hand with the theatre. However, this was a notable exception.
This excellent performance by Erin Doherty takes you through the thoughts and dreams of young Rachel Corrie, an energetic activist from Olympia, Washington. Compiled from her diary entries and emails by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner, this two-hour long monologue is a glimpse into the life of this incredible, brave and funny girl. We follow her through the decision to go to Palestine as her senior college assignment because she was part of ‘The International Solidarity Movement’ and soon hear about her death in Rafah. Her murder is steeped in controversy, but the undisputed fact is that she was run over by a bulldozer less than two months after her arrival in 2003, when she was twenty-three.
We follow this unique and determined girl all the way from pre-school, where she remembers thinking that ‘everyone should always feel safe’ is the “best rule I can think of”. We get a real insight into her character as she bombards us with lists about how she is going to improve the world and ‘who to hang out with in eternity’. The terrifying matter at hand is drastically juxtaposed with everyday dilemmas such as bumping into ex-boyfriends, bringing the audience closer to the problem.
Superbly directed by Josh Roche, an up-and-coming director to look out for, this simple performance lacked nothing and left the audience with an uneasy feeling of inadequacy in comparison with this inspirational woman. He excellently makes use of all resources with a makeshift set, a blank board, a staple gun and some lip salve.
You can’t help but fall in love Erin Doherty’s portrayal of this wacky girl who dreams of changing the world singlehandedly, and made more progress in 23 years than most of us in our whole lives. The Stage describes this production as “humorous and humanising”, and I couldn’t have put it better myself.
This is a practical and thought-provoking production which leaves us asking whether we would be brave enough to give our lives for what we believed in.