Portraits of grief and love in ‘Lockerbie’

Rollins will present the play The Women of Lockerbie, written by Deborah Brevoort and directed by Eric Zivot, later this month on the Annie Russell stage.

The Women of Lockerbie takes place in the idyllic town of Lockerbie, Scotland seven years after Pan Am Flight 103 crashed into the town in 1988 due to a terrorist bombing. The play is centered around a fictional account of an American mother and a father visiting Lockerbie for a memorial service seven years after the crash. There, they encounter a group of local women whose love and perseverance in the face of an unsympathetic American government helped the broken family heal.

The father, Bill Livingston (Malakai Green ‘18), has always kept his grief safely guarded, never feeling it or showing it. Madeline Livingston (Fiona Campbell ‘19), however, grapples with denial, self-blame, and anger over her son’s death. These differences cause significant tension as the play progresses. The background women, many of whom serve as the chorus in other parts of the play, also have to come to terms with their grief and anger. They plan to do this by winning a battle with the American government over the ownership of the victims’ clothing.

This group of women in Lockerbie, Scotland includes Hattie (Kendall Smith ‘19), a shrewd cleaning lady, and Olive (Bailey Devoe ‘18), a woman who assists the Livingston family through their trials. The rest of the women make up the chorus of the play, occasionally singing and taking part in choreographed displays. The play is interspersed with piercing monologues, allowing the audience to relate to the feelings of each character.

The play challenges many notions about the grieving process, especially in regards to gender. It also highlights the various ways in which people grieve, some of which can be unhealthy. The most compelling argument the play makes is the importance of hatred when it comes to loss. Hatred geared towards undeserving targets is a normal response to death and loss that must be transformed to love. Hatred is triumphed in the play in a powerful way.

The play deals with grief in another way as well by challenging those who attempt to regulate grief. The women do not allow any governmental powers to dictate how they should grieve or get in the way of doing what is best for their families. With the current political climate, standing up for what one feels is best is an important theme to reiterate.

The Women of Lockerbie will premiere at the Annie Russell Theatre on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be bought through the Annie Russell box office over email or phone.

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