In 2003, American peace activist Rachel Corrie was mowed down by an Israeli bulldozer as she attempted to stop it from demolishing a Palestinian home. Her death stirred international controversy; some critics accused the Israelis of murder while other observers maintained that Corrie's demise was an accident and that she and her compatriots were the instigating dupes of Arab terrorists.
The event prompted the 2005 drama My Name Is Rachel Corrie, based on Corrie's diaries and edited by Alan Rickman. Sarah's War, by Valerie Dillman, is somewhat different: Less biographical, it's an attempt to explore how the life and death of such a self-sacrificing individual might affect others. And while it dwells too insistently on the squabbling among Corrie's grieving family members, Dillman's work ultimately succeeds in illuminating the event's human, political and moral particulars.
Director Matt McKenzie's discerning eye and ear are evident in both the production's well-calibrated pacing and its solid performances. Abica Dubay's Sarah is a cogent portrait of a vulnerable young woman who pursues her ideals despite her fear and her growing doubts. Offsetting that vulnerability are Marley McClean as her tight-lipped, doctrinaire colleague, Dina Simon as a Palestinian woman furious at Sarah's meddlesome naivete, and Will Rothhaar as the Israeli driver in whose memory she is indelibly embedded. And Adria Tennor Blotta's portrayal of Sarah's conventional sister Liz unexpectedly morphs into one of the evening's performance highlights. (Deborah Klugman)

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Feb. 11. Continues through April 15, 2012

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