'Lockerbie' highlights human compassion

Cast members hold a vigil to the victims of a terrorist attack during a rehearsal for an upcoming production of “The Women of Lockerbie” at Scene One Theatre.

Cast members hold a vigil to the victims of a terrorist attack during a rehearsal for an upcoming production of “The Women of Lockerbie” at Scene One Theatre. Kile Brewer/News Tribune

  • What: ‘The Women of Lockerbie’ by Scene One Theatre.
  • When: Nov. 14-16 and 21-23, 121 E. High St.
  • Tickets: $5; other performances, $10, at 573-635-6713.

In memory of the 1988 terrorist attack on Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Scene One Theatre is presenting the drama “The Women of Lockerbie,” by Deborah Brevoort.

The plays, loosely based on a true story, tells of the journey of a couple from New Jersey, portrayed by Tom Durkin and Megan Stroup Sappington, who travel to Locker-bie after the crash looking for the remains of their only son.

They meet the women of Locker-bie and learn of their determination to locate victims’ clothing recovered from the crash and to get permission from the U.S. government to wash and return these items to their families in a spirit of compassion and healing.

Olive Allison, played by Claudia Scott, heads the women of this project, which became known as “The Laundry Project.”

Mary Jo Durkin and Lacey Anne Williams play two of the women helping Olive with the washing. The women run into some opposition from the official in charge of the clothing, George Jones, played by Alan Bailey. They have inside help and information from the cleaning lady, Hattie, played by Laura Vedenhauot, who works at the building where Jones has his office.

Director Mark Miles said for this production, they added a character, The Bean Nighe, who in Scottish forklore is a figure seen by a stream washing. This helps bring together the theme of the play.

The play tells two stories: the couple and their search, and the women who are trying to find peace and compassion in an act of love.

Miles said some of his cast were not born when the tragic act of terror took place, so it was a historical learning experience as well as an acting experience.

The set, designed by Miles, is a stream outside of the town, and the action takes place on the shortest night of the year so lighting was somewhat a challenge to create a night atmosphere.

“I was attracted to this play for some time because of the way people react to senseless tragedy and what happens as a result of these emotions,” Miles said.

Miles also had a connection to the play because he worked at Syracuse University eight years before the bombing and felt empathy with the families of the students killed in the crash.

The play is recommended for families and youths because of historical value of the story. “The play is very affirmative. It is somewhat depressing but is uplift-ing in the end as compassion and love help with closure for the people,” Miles said

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