Friends of Theater, February 2020 Newsletter

Director’s Note for The Women of Lockerbie

The Women of Lockerbie by Deborah Brevoort takes place in Lockerbie, Scotland, during a memorial service for the victims of the historical 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 crash. Taking place seven years after the crash, the story follows Mr. and Mrs. Livingston, a mother and father from New Jersey who lost their son, a student from Syracuse University, to this tragedy. They attempt to reconcile their grief as they search for his remains, seemingly the only way for them to find closure. Along the way, the Livingstons are counseled by three women, locals of Lockerbie, who are going up against the American government in order to obtain the clothing of the victims being kept in a warehouse as evidence, vying to prevent them from being incinerated at dawn and ultimately to deliver the clothing to the victims’ family members.

A significant aspect of the play is that it is written in the style of a Greek tragedy, giving it the sound and feel of poetry with its musicality, shape and rhythm which allows for such grandiose emotion. The women of Lockerbie act as a Greek chorus with frequent choral dialogues spruced throughout the story to contextualize the story and inform the audience. These past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure to work with a brilliant team of actors and designers in the effort to bring the historical significance of this piece to light.

While the play deals with the horror of tragedy on a grand scale, it’s ultimately a character-driven piece that deals with the blurred line between grief and acceptance. One of my favorite things about the play is its focus on the victims of this tragedy rather than the cause of it, which is terrorism. I think it’s important to understand that evil is an ever present element of life, but in no way is evil a black and white matter. Blame can be pointed in any direction and find a way to be justified when tragedies like this occur. However, that’s not the point of The Women of Lockerbie. The point of this story is that evil only triumphs when you allow it to, and the best way to combat it is through fierce love, great acts of kindness, and the strength of community.

—Em German