Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winsome Picks Feb 17

I'm a little late on these. Thursdays might be a little late in the week for making time for this. Anyway, this is a good week for art in Milwaukee.

1. My Name is Rachel Corrie: tonight at 5 and 7:30, at the Haefler Theatre Building on Marquette Campus, free. I saw this last night, and while imperfect, it's defnitely worth checking out. See review below.

2. 3Penny Opera - opens thursday at Off the Wall. I've been super excited since first hearing about this, and reading Dale's short essay on the show (up here: http://www.offthewalltheatre.com/)has got me even more excited! Brecht in milwaukee by someone who understands and shares some of brecht's intentions, even takes them to the next steps.

3. BERZERK!!! 15 plays all written in ten minutes. Sat at 8pm. Produced by me! The plays were written last weekend. This is possibly the best batches of BERZERK!!! plays we've assembled. It's gonna be an awesome show... if i can pull off all the tech stuff we need to get together. Buy tickets online now, cuz it'll likely sell out. Get em at the Alchemist website)

4. FTAM show at the borg ward. Great noise show, also sat at 8pm. If you don't get to BERZERK!!! get to this.

5. Present Music at Discovery World. Also on Saturday, the bourgeois version of the FTAM show. But, Present Music is finally acknowledging the existance of local experimental musicians! If it were a different night i'd be checking it out.

6. Transmutative Cinema - some really interesting looking films this week, Sat at 10, sunday at 8. Free with drink purchase at the alchemist. Support the alchemist! Support genuinely independent cinema in Milwaukee!

7. i'm too busy with my own theatre stuff to have kept up on the visual arts scene this week. Sorry. Check out Art City or Suseptible to Images, i'm sure some of the great exhibits i saw two weeks ago are still up.


Rex Winsome, AKA Ben Turk said...


"My Name is Rachel Corrie" is being produced as a capstone project of a senior drama student at Marquette. It's a one-woman show based on text from Rachel Corrie's diaries and emails. Corrie is a peace activist who traveled to Palestine in 2003 to protest.

It's not often that plays (or really, any popular culture) confronts the subjects this play does. This alone makes the play worth seeing, it is an effective and honest biography.

Unfortunately, the people who edited Corrie's words (Alan Rickman and Catherine Viner) arranged them in such a way that the audience is first made to identify with Corrie as a little girl, an adolescent, and then as an activist who cared deeply about Palestine. The emphasis is on her personal story, not on the issues tied up in that story. This method overshadows the educative and humanitarian purposes of the play. Building catharsis between the audience and this white middle class american in hopes that, through her passions and through mourning her death we will change our views of Palestine, is deeply problematic.

Should we care about Palestine because Rachel was run over by an Israeli buldozer there, or should we care about Palestine for the reasons people like Rachel cared about it in the first place? Seems to me, based on some of her words in this play itself, her self-awareness and conflicted feelings about her own privledges, Rachel herself would question the ethnocentrism that needs a white american martyr's face and story in order to concern ourselves with what's happening in the middle east, or anywhere in the developing world.

So the play is not only racist, it's also hipocritical. The arrangement (catharsis, pity, release, false identification, lack of action) produces almost the exactly opposite experience that Rachel hopes to produce in her life.

As far as this production goes, the actor did a pretty good job. Her initial actor-y voice and characterization that made me cringe through the first 15 minutes of the play eventually faded away into a much more straightforward naturalistic and believeable voice over the course of the show.

It's hypocritical, but the thing about hypocrisy is: the only way to avoid it completely is to not give a fuck about anything in the first place. The hypocrisy of seeing or producing this play is a much better option for someone who even pretends to care, than what most of us plan on doing with the average tuesday evening. It's also more entertaining. So go, see it!

Rex Winsome, AKA Ben Turk said...

More reviews of these things:

The March BERZERK!!! was one of the best, i think. Or maybe it's just that i was in the light booth instead of backstage and could actually watch the show... Anyway, GREAT TIMES. Next month: We're changing the format up. Stay tuned for details.

Seeing 3penny next weekend.

Transmutative cancelled the sat screening, so i missed that.

Missed FTAM and Present music because of BERZERK. Heard the FTAM show was phenomenal. Haven't heard anything about Present Music's.