Written by Jyrell Wynn, Staff Writer
On Oct. 22 through the 28, Valdosta State Theatre and Dance held a production of The Women of Lockerbie in the VSU Lab Theatre.
Set in the backdrop of the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster, the play begins in the Scottish hills of Lockerbie on Dec. 21, 1995 in the style of an ancient Greek tragedy.
The play follows the exploits of Bill Livingston having to console his wife Madeline after their son dies in the crash. Madeline searches through the wreckage for any evidence of her son’s memory when she meets the four women of Lockerbie. The women want to wash the clothes of the victims and return them to the families, so an act of hatred becomes an act of love.
The tragedy of the event allows the actors and the audience members to fully immerse themselves in the moment and believe in the characters. Kara Maran portrayed the role of Madeline Livingston and did an excellent job of a heartbroken mother that wants some closure with her son. Matthew Tito played Madeline’s husband Bill who tries to support his wife and appear tough despite his own inner tragedy.
Hannah Findlay was Olive Allison, the leader of the women of Lockerbie that stayed strong as her own tragic past became clear. Kailah Gordon, Cassandra Stowe, Christie Mayo, and Arnecia Webb were the four women that performed their roles in the style of a Greek chorus with strong conviction.
Alexander Crider and Autumn Denmark as George Jones and Hattie were funny at times, but still compelling. Flashbacks of September 11 ring throughout this play as this was the largest attack on American civilians in US history until 9/11.
On Dec. 21, 1988, an unknown terrorist concealed plastic explosives and a timer in a suitcase that detonated on Flight 103 and caused the deaths of all passengers on board.
Eleven Lockerbie residents lost their lives, several homes were destroyed, and the debris of the attack covered 845 square miles.
The play has been performed over 400 times around the world and has been translated in over ten languages.
Before purchasing a manuscript copy of the play, author Deborah Brevoort had a special connection with the historic event.
“I remember exactly where I was standing in my parents’ home when learning of the crash from the Today Show on the morning of December 22, 1988,” said Brevoort.
The Women of Lockerbie was an enjoyable romp of emotions that uses minimal staging and abstract performance to keep the focus on the vulnerable characters and their methods of coping with adversity.