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Rickman & Rachel Juggle Three Wins

From What’s on Stage News

My Name Is Rachel Corrie was the biggest straight play winner in this
year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, triumphing in three categories:
Best New Play, Best Solo Performance and Best Director (See News, 31
Jan 2006). Alan Rickman, Megan Dodds and Katharine Viner – the trio
behind Rachel Corrie – reunited at the Royal Court, where the play
premiered in April 2005, to collect their trophies.

Why did a 23-year-old woman leave her comfortable American life to
stand between a bulldozer and a Palestinian home? My Name Is Rachel
Corrie recounts the real story of “the short life and sudden death of
Rachel Corrie, and the words she left behind.”

Alan Rickman took the idea to the Royal Court after reading an email
written by Corrie and posthumously published in the Guardian. With the
permission of Corrie’s family, he and Guardian journalist Katharine
Viner developed the play based on Corrie’s own writings. Megan Dodds
starred as Corrie in the 80-minute monologue.

Following its sell-out premiere season in the 80-seat Jerwood Theatre
Upstairs, My Name Is Rachel Corrie returned to the Royal Court’s
395-seat Jerwood Theatre Downstairs for a second limited season last
October (See News, 3 May 2005). Next month, it will receive its US
premiere – running from 22 March to 14 May 2006 at the New York
Theatre Workshop – ahead of a planned US tour and further
international dates.

Speaking to Whatsonstage.com over celebratory coffee and croissants at
the Royal Court, Rickman said: “The way I feel about My Name Is Rachel
Corrie winning these awards is, I think, what I felt every night in
the theatre – that the audience somehow owned the play. With the best
kind of work, you always feel like you give it away to the audience.
As an actor or a director, I’m just there to facilitate that.” He
added, with regards to his own personal Best Director win for the
play: “Thank you very much indeed. It’s really not about me, it’s
about Rachel. You have honoured her and her memory with these awards
and now her story goes on.”

Dodds, who collected the award for Best Solo Performance, said: “I
want to say thank you to the people who voted and the people who came
to see the show. It takes a certain level of commitment because it’s
not an easy piece and it’s not a typical play. But so many people
seemed to feel it wasn’t just Rachel’s story, it was their story, too.
Of course, it never would have happened if Alan hadn’t read about
Rachel in the Guardian one day. I’m so grateful to have been a part of

Rickman’s co-author Viner still seemed taken aback by the play’s
success. “My Name Is Rachel Corrie is the first play I’ve ever been
involved with,” she admitted. “To work with the material of such a
brilliant writer and with such a wonderful team was a dream come true.
I’ve loved doing it, it’s opened up a whole new area of my
imagination. Thank you to everyone who voted for us for honouring
Rachel’s memory in this very special way.”

As for triumphing over premieres by Neil LaBute, Richard Bean, Simon
Stephens, Aaron Sorkin and Helen Edmundson to win the title for Best
New Play, Rickman compared it to being “a bit like Krufts – you know,
when you’ve got a poodle up against a sheep dog. We feel like the
little poodle, but with the muscle of a much bigger dog. It’s for
other people to judge, of course, but I think this piece is so
important because it reminds us that we are part of the world we live