On Stage

Taking Flight

Grief and acceptance in Women of Lockerbie

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Although the powers that be at the Bellingham Theatre Guild couldn’t possibly have known that their spring production, The Women of Lockerbie, would coincide with a remarkably related major news story, that’s exactly what happened.

The recent event I’m referring to is the ongoing search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth more than a month ago on what was supposed to be a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The Women of Lockerbie, on the other hand, deals with the aftereffects of Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 after a bomb set by Libyan terrorists killed all 243 passengers, 16 crew members and 11 more people on the ground.

The major differences in the two airplane-related tragedies is that one deals with a crash that left tangible, often horrifying, evidence of a disaster, while the other is an ongoing mystery that may never be solved.

After viewing the opening-night performance of Deborah Brevoort’s The Women of Lockerbie, the eerie similarities between Pan Am Flight 103 and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 became crystal clear: both events left behind family members and friends who will never know how their loved ones spent their final moments. Similarly, those dealing with aftereffects of both tragedies must eventually learn to grieve for what they’ve lost—even if there’s no body to put to rest.

The play takes place seven years after Pan Am 103 was blown out of the sky. A still grief-stricken woman named Madeline Livingston (Nicole Winkler) returns to Scotland with her husband, Bill (Alan Peet). Their 20-year-old son died during the bombing, but his body was never found and Madeline has been unable to recover from the trauma. Even worse, she blames herself.

At the same time, a group of women in Lockerbie—many of whom also lost those they loved as a result of the crash—are attempting to retrieve clothing and other personal belongings of the victims from the United States government, who are set to demolish the remainder of what remains.

What happens when the Livingstons connect with the locals is at the heart of the production, which ultimately focuses on forgiveness, acceptance and learning to move on after a tragedy parts the skies and tears your world apart.

It must be said, though, that there’s no moment in the play when life is perfect once again and the tragedies are forgotten. Audiences will cringe when they hear details of the crash, and may tear up when the Livingstons find a modicum of relief from their pain, but trust me when I tell you that The Women of Lockerbie will stick with you—especially when you hear yet another news report about the families that are still waiting to hear what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

More On Stage...
Circus Al Fresco
Summer’s last Sh’Bang

By the time you read these words, it might be too late to sign up for the Circus Campout taking place Aug. 25-28 at the Lookout Arts Quarry.

Luckily, visitors to the 50-acre property near Alger can still reap the rewards of what happens when creative humans gather together for three days…

more »
Seasonal Spotlight
An iDiOM state of mind

When I last wrote about iDiOM Theater, the 14-year-old performing arts venue was preparing to decamp from its longtime space on Cornwall Avenue for a move to the new Sylvia Center for the Arts—but not before offering up a production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

I was in attendance…

more »
Campus Collective
Welcome back to Western Summer Theatre

The beginning of Western Washington University’s fall semester is still more than a month away, but that doesn’t mean all is quiet on the edifice of learning on the hill.

Far from it, in fact. Since returning to liven up WWU’s campus in July, Western Summer Theatre is once again ensuring…

more »
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

We Grow Market

3:00pm|Northwest Youth Services

Music Enrichment Project Meet and Greet

4:00pm|Piper Music

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Get Out More Tour

7:30pm|Backcountry Essentials


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


9:30pm|Green Frog

Northwood Steak and Crab Artifacts Wine Bar
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Hiking Basics


Final History Sunset Cruise

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Final BIFT

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Amnesty International Meeting

7:00pm|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Northwood Steak and Crab Artifacts Wine Bar
Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Wednesday Market

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Lynden Book Club

12:30pm|Lynden Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Gun Show

8:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Northwood Steak and Crab Andrew Subin Swinomish 2016 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Artifacts Wine Bar Village Books