The Women of Lockerbie
Annie Russell Theatre, Rollins College
Written by Deborah Brevoort
Directed by Eric Zivot
Starring Fiona Campbell, Bailey Devoe, and Josh Scott
Life is tough when an entire 747 lands on your house, but that’s what happened 1988 to a small town in the Scottish Lowlands. Everyone on board died, so did another 11 on the ground, and the investigation dragged on for ages. In this adaptation, we meet a Madeline (Campbell) and her husband Bill (Malakai). Their son was one of the bodies never recovered, and she’s slipping away from sanity looking for him in the damp night. Out in the woods they meet a group of local women; the locals wish to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to their families. But officious American State Department official (George Jones) won’t let them, he wants to wrap this up and go somewhere better for his career, like Kuwait or Tel Aviv. But the local women invoke the daemon bad press, and eventually there is some sort of closure.
-bmThe set looks gorgeous, a dimly lit forest with soft focus stars backs the stage. Stairsteps are hidden in among the rocks and moss, and a still stream hides within them. Dialog is stated more than spoken; most lines feel like declarative sentences. DeVoe’s Olive gave the most nuanced performance, her lines felt like they came from the heart. Scott’s Jones comes across as too easily angered, even a State Department flunky would stay calm in the face of angry locals. Campbell and Green didn’t seem all that married; I’ll credit some of that as the estrangement caused by their son’s death, but not all of it. The majority of the cast remained un-identified, they were voices in the dark, co-equals in pain. Like all disasters, after time passes we forget them. Distance dims the pain, people die away, and fresher tragedies replace our attention. But some remember, some build monuments, and some engage in symbolic cleansing. That’s what these Scots women aim for: cleanse the clothes of the dead, and hope to cleanse their own pain of loss.