'The Women of Lockerbie' about light and darkness

Advertisement

photo

Caught up in a tearful moment of sorrow and attempted understanding, Sarah Hemenway, one of three actresses who combine to form the group character The Women, stands in the darkness of the aftermath to the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

photo

photo

Olive Allison (Dyani Turner) recoils back after erupting in rage and attacking Madeline Livingston (Deva Parrish), on ground during an emotional outburst over both women's loss of loved ones in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

photo

photo

photo

Madeline Livingston (Deva Parrish) contemplates the final moments of her son's life on board the doomed Pan Am Flight 103.

photo

Madeline Livingston (Deva Parrish) contemplates the final moments of her son's life on board the doomed Pan Am Flight 103 as she steps back and forth across a small stream, each time imagining the journey as one from life to death, death to life.

photo

Wife and husband Madeline Livingston (Deva Parrish), left, and Bill Livingston (Miles McGee) fight to understand their feelings of anger and loss over the death of their son in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

photo

Katelyn Schiller as one of The Women stresses the need to have access to the clothing of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 with US State Dept employee George Jones (Kyle Finn).

photo

photo

Brianne Roberson as one of The Women.

photo

photo

Bill Livingston (Miles McGee), an American who lost his son in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, shares a candlelit moment of remembrance with one of the Women of Lockerbie.

photo

US State Dept employee George Jones (Kyle Finn) goes up against the solemn spirit of The Women of Lockerbie.

photo

Bill Livingston hands his wife Madeline a ticket stub from a Yankees game that he recently found in his jacket pocket. He had been to the game with his son who died in the terrorist bombing over Lockerbie.

photo

photo

Lockerbie resident Olive Allison (Dyani Turner) closes her eyes and grieves for the victims of the terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland as the very landscape bleeds in a sad blue sorrow.

More than two decades after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Kevin Loomer found himself contemplating the events surrounding the terrorist attack that killed all 259 people on board and another 11 people on the ground.

It was last summer when Loomer gave a first read to the play "The Women of Lockerbie." At that same time, the bombing of the 747 that occurred over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, saw a resurgence in the media because of an act of compassion by the Scottish government.

"In August they let the fellow Libyan who was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing out of jail, he got cancer, so that he could die in his own country ... that news article came out about the same time that I was reading the play," Loomer recalled.

As he read through Deborah Brevoort's play -- which is loosely based on historical accounts of the victims' family members and local towns people who return to the crash site in search of personal items belonging to victims -- the Walla Walla Community College theater arts director realized that the play was graver than any previous productions he had seen produced on campus.

"This is a little hefty, and also the fact that she (Brevoort) has written in Greek tragic form it is not in the realm of what I am used to," Loomer said, adding that it would be a stretch for his drama students, who for the most part have been doing mostly "light-hearted" productions.

But even though "The Women of Lockerbie" is centered around a tragic occurrence, the play also has many uplifting qualities that take it beyond the scope of a tragedy, and possibly into the realm of a must-see production.

"I was moved by the story; it deals with issues of how do we work through grief and how do we work through issues of unforgiveness or hatred ... I personally believe this a real important piece. I fully believe that if people come with their hearts open to fully receive this thing, that they will leave with a gift," Loomer said.

The play centers around an American mother of a victim who has returned to the crash site, along with several Lockerbie women who have made it their goal to "convert an act of hatred into an act of love" by washing the clothes of the dead and returning those articles to the victims' families.

It is a serious play, one derived from a true tragedy. But for those who shy away from serious themes, Loomer also points out that "The Women of Lockerbie" is not truly a Greek tragedy and there is plenty of humor.

"You really, really need it," Loomer said, and added that along with some comic relief are strong undercurrents of hope.

"As a director, I have not let it end as hopeful as Deborah Brevoort said it should. I like the idea that it is hopeful, but there is still work to be done," Loomer said, noting he reworked only the lights and the script.

The setting is also a serene one, taking place in a rocky cove by a stream, which posed different challenges.

"It calls for running water on a stage, and I wanted to attempt that in the scene, but we have had two leaks so far," Loomer said.

There are some elements of Greek tragedy that are incorporated in Brevoort's work. The play is in poetic form. A Greek chorus is used. And as with traditional Greek tragedies, the actual tragic event is never played out on stage, but only described from witnesses.

"Terrorism is the tragedy of the day; it is kind of the thing we are dealing with right now ... But the end is very poignant, and it is not a tragedy in the truest sense of the word. It ends hopeful," he said.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment