by Olivia Koravos and Savanah Hippert
In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded 38 minutes after takeoff, crashing in Lockerbie, Scotland.
Just days before Christmas, the terrorist attack left Lockerbie as a wreckage site for those who inhabited the town, and countless U.S families.
A total of 268 people were killed when the bomb detonated at 31,000 feet.
Being the winner of an Onassis International Playwriting Award for New Plays, the production revolves around a mother from New Jersey roaming around the hills of Lockerbie, Scotland, searching for her son’s remains that were lost in the crash of Pan Am 103. During her journey, she becomes acquainted with the women of Lockerbie who are fighting the U.S government to obtain the clothing of the victims found in the plane’s wreckage. The women are determined to take the act of hate and turn it into one of love by washing the clothes of the deceased and returning them to the victims’ families.
“I think what is so unique about this story is when you hear about tragedies in the news, you don’t ever think about the people who are from that area unless you’re from there,” says senior Tyler Rost, the understudy for George Jones in the production. “Even though this is a tragedy about an airplane bombing, the people on the ground were just as affected. This story is told from a really powerful perspective that you don’t really get to see a lot,” Rost adds.
While “The Women of Lockerbie” is purely fictitious, it pays homage to those who were affected by the devastating tragedy. “…It’s about learning to work through the grief and anguish and the horror of such an event, and to [learn] to let go and to love again,” Denise Alexander, Co-Director of “The Women of Lockerbie” reflects. While the play is one that brings a sensitive topic to the stage, “it’s heartwarming and hopeful [in] a very positive way that shows how humanity can survive through really horrible events,” Alexander concludes. While going to see this play is a great way to support the Fitchburg State University Theater program, it also allows viewers to learn about a historical event that is both emotionally tragic and moving. Those that attend the play will be contributing to the cast and crew trip to Scotland in August to perform “The Women of Lockerbie” at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
“The Women of Lockerbie” will be performed: April 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 6:30 p.m.; April 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.; April 14, 15 and 21 at 2 p.m. Located at 67 Rindge Road in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the play will be staged at The Wallace Center for the Performing Arts in the McKay Complex. Admission is $3 per person and is open to the public for viewing.