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The Women of Lockerbie at IPFW

Playwright Deborah Brevoort visits cast

By Janet Krist-Finkbeiner

Fort Wayne Reader


On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Its 16-member crew and 243 passengers died, and debris from the massive body of the 747 rained down over the seaside town of Lockerbie, killing 11 more people on the ground.

Deborah Brevoort’s award-winning play, The Women of Lockerbie, is set in the hills of Lockerbie six years after the terrorist bombing of Flight 103. A New Jersey mother searches the hills for the remains of her son, while the women of Lockerbie are fighting the U.S. government to obtain the clothing of the victims found in the plane's wreckage. Determined to infuse a hate-filled situation with love and create closure, they want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the victim's families. For most of the families, the only remains left of their family members were the clothing.

When director Jeff Casazza decided to add The Women of Lockerbie to the IPFW Department of Theatre 2012-13 season, Brevoort contacted Casazza, offering to meet and work with the cast. It was an opportunity that Casazza could not pass up. Brevoort came to IPFW from Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 working with Casazza, attending rehearsals and sharing with the cast.

Casazza believes that Brevoort’s presence and encouragement helped the cast to more fully understand the characters and construction of the play. In particular, he says meeting Brevoort helped the cast to better trust the play’s humor, which Breevort uses to to more expertly emphasis the tragic aspects of the play. This direct insight allowed the cast to invest more fully in their parts. “Hearing her intent clarified things for all of us,” says Casazza.

Brevoort explained to the cast that she had been inspired to write the play when the real women of Lockerbie appeared on ABC’s Nightline to tell their story. “Deborah brought a copy of those Nightline videos to share with us,” said Casazza, “It was amazing to see.”

The Women of Lockerbie is written in the style of a Greek tragedy. This form allows the cast and audience the emotional space needed to deal with an epic tragedy such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. The form is cyclical, using blocks of poetry, drama and threads of humor, lifting the audience up as events unfold. Brevoort found that if she stepped out of the form things got away from her quickly. She learned to trust this ancient form implicitly as a template for this story.

Brevoort’s tender treatment of the subject matter reminds us that the human spirit has an enormous capacity for finding light in the darkness and hope in the midst of hopelessness.

IPFW Department of Theatre presents The Women of Lockerbie

Studio Theatre in Kettler Hall

Fridays, November 9, 16 at 8 PM
Saturdays, November 10, 17 at 8 PM
Thursday, November 15 at 8 PM
Sunday, November 18 at 2 PM (sign language interpreted performance)

Admission for IPFW students with ID is free
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Seniors/Faculty/Staff/Alumni; $10 Groups of 10 or more; $5 Students 18 and under; $10 other “college” students with ID
Children under 6 will not be admitted
Please arrive early. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management or at intermission.
The IPFW Box Office in the Athletic Center room 126 is open Monday-Friday, 12:30 – 6:30 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to call in advance to reserve their tickets.
Box Office: 260-481-6555
TTD: 260-481-4105
For information call the IPFW Box Office at 260-481-6555 or visit www.ipfw.edu/theatre

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