Here at NU: 'Women of Lockerbie' on Niagara stage
The curtain will rise at the Leary Theatre for the first time this year on Oct. 20 for The Women of Lockerbie.
The play won the silver medal in the Onassis International Playwriting Competition and the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award.
Directed by adjunct professor Amanda Lytle Sharpe, The Women of Lockerbie is a fictional play about the aftermath of the 1988 explosion of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. During this disaster, 270 people perished, including 189 Americans.
Sharpe explains the play focuses on an American couple who return to Lockerbie seven years after the disaster. They meet a group of local women who are in the process of petitioning the American government to release the clothing found throughout the crash site. The women intend to wash the clothes and return them to the victims' families.
Junior theatre performance major John Woodley, who plays Bill Livingston, says that although the play is deep and heavyhearted, the main message is hope and not despair. The ultimate goal of the story is to finally shed some light on the darkness that has been blanketing the hills of Lockerbie.
Working on this production has been a surreal experience for Woodley. Since the subject matter is so profound, it has forced him as an actor to go to a place he has never been before to understand the depth of the incident.
You reach a point where you start living in this world, Woodley says.
Sharpe says that, although none of her actors were alive during the events of PanAm 103, they have lived through the devastation of 9/11 and are able to establish a connection between the two tragedies.
Sharpe explains that the story of PanAm 103 is still being written. Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was responsible for planting the explosive on the flight, was released on compassionate grounds by the Scottish government in 2009. al-Megrahi had prostate cancer and was expected to live for only three more months. He is still alive today.
His controversial early release has been the subject matter of national news.
The injustice of a murderer only serving 11 years for murdering 270 people has affected many nations, especially the USA, as the majority of the victims were American, Sharpe says. Thirty-five of the Americans were students at Syracuse University returning home from studying abroad.
Woodley exclaims that this production is a must see. He says that the many powerful lessons in this show will teach the audience how to appreciate the small things in life and cherish them with all your heart.
The cast of The Women of Lockerbie includes Megan Kemple, Woodley, Keirsten Greifenstein, Meghan Deanna Smith, Grace Turner, Glenna Rankin, Brianna Lanoye, Brittany Gabryel, Dino Petrera and Michele Dalia. The stage manager is Aaron Moseley and the assistant stage manager is Michael Sheridan. Rachel M. Olszewski is the assistant director, Andrea Gollhardt is costume designer, assistant professor David Dwyer is the set designer, James Hergenroder is the light director, and Glenn Bernardis is the sound designer.
The dramatic tragedy will show at the Leary Theatre in the Elizabeth Anne Clune Center for Theatre at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20 and Oct. 24, and at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 21 and 22. There also will be matinees at 2 p.m. on Oct. 22 and 23. The Oct. 23 performance includes a post-show discussion with playwright Deborah Brevoort.
Tickets are free for Niagara students with NU student IDs.