Marley McClean on Acting in “Sarah’s War”

It’s always exciting and incredible when I get to work on a production that I feel passionately about.  It’s a rare experience when I am handed a role that is not only a challenge, but incredibly rewarding.  That is the experience I have had the past couple months in rehearsal for Val Dillman’s play Sarah’s War.

The play takes place in 2003 and revolves around the true story of Rachel Corrie.  Rachel was a 23-year-old human rights activist who died when she was crushed by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer.  She was attempting to prevent the bulldozer, a Caterpillar D9, from destroying a Palestinian home by acting as a human shield.  There is alot of speculation and opinion as to what happened on that day, whether the driver saw her or not, whether he intentionally killed her or not, and as far as I’m concerned I’m not so sure if these questions can be answered.  The story itself is riveting, whether you believe she was a hero or a traitor.  Our play uses different names and is a story of fiction based on true events.  I play a hardened activist who has already been in Gaza months before Sarah (the character based on Rachel) arrives, and am with her the day she dies in the bulldozer’s path.  My character is based on a real woman who was there with Rachel as she died.  She also cleaned Rachel’s body and watched another close friend and fellow activist die from a bullet wound to his head while he attempted to pull a child out of gunfire in Palestine.

The play doesn’t attempt to answer or solve any questions, but presents a story.  It presents hard truths about our government, and about what we as humans are capable of.  It’s been a wild ride, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict awakens many emotions and opinions from people of all walks of life, but I feel that I am fulfilling my purpose as an actor by doing this play.  It’s my belief that art shouldn’t always be comforting or easy, but awaken the senses and present difficult questions..and while doing so hopefully it encourages peaceful discourse and connection rather than hate speech and disconnect.  All I know is that I’m having a blast, feel empowered and am excited!

Visit Marley’s blog.

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