Playwright to attend VSU Theatre production

Deborah Brevoort

VALDOSTA — Playwright Deborah Brevoort imagined older actresses being attracted to the American and Scottish women in her play, “The Women of Lockerbie.”

Instead, the play has become popular with young actresses in university theatre programs. Young women such as the ones in the cast of Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance’s production of “The Women of Lockerbie.”

VSU opens the show next week. One member of the VSU Theatre & Dance audience will be Brevoort.

She is scheduled to attend the Oct. 23 performance and participate in a show “talk-back” following the performance, said VSU show director H. Duke Guthrie.

Since its publication several years ago, approximately 450 theatre groups have produced “The Women of Lockerbie” worldwide. The play has been translated into 10 languages.

Brevoort has attended several productions. She averages a couple to a handful of “Lockerbie” productions a year. She is watching three productions during almost back-to-back weekends this month.

Brevoort said she never tires seeing new casts and companies interpret her work. No matter how many times she sees it, each group finds something new in her words.

“It’s incredible,” she said. “Of the hundreds of productions, of the ones I’ve seen, each company brings something unique to it.”

VSU Theatre & Dance summarizes the play: “A mother from New Jersey roams the hills of Lockerbie, Scotland, on the seventh anniversary of the crash of Pan Am 103, looking for her son’s remains that were never recovered after the crash.

She meets 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 Scottish women, determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the victims’ families.”

Brevoort infuses the classical theatre structure of Greek tragedy to tell this tale of contemporary terrorism. The play approaches Lockerbie as the trigger moment of Middle Eastern terrorism in the Western world.

The play is a fictional account of Lockerbie’s aftermath. The characters are not based on real people affected by the events in Lockerbie. Brevoort said she has no personal tie to what happened at Lockerbie.

In the late 1990s, she watched a “Nightline” program commemorating the terrorist attack that downed a jetliner. The news show inspired her to write the play. She spent five years writing and preparing “The Women of Lockerbie” for its first production.

Brevoort has written many produced dramas, comedies, musicals and operas. She teaches in the MFA playwriting programs at Goddard College (Vermont), Columbia University and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program, according to her biography information. Her plays have won awards such as the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theatre.

Still, she said she is surprised by the reception for “The Women of Lockerbie.”

“Young people have embraced this play,” Brevoort said.

Universities use “The Women of Lockerbie” as an introduction to Greek theatre perhaps, Brevoort said, “because a younger audience finds it more accessible than ‘Oedipus Rex.’”

The play may resonate with university students because they have lived under the shroud of terrorism since early childhood. Many current university students were elementary school students or toddlers when the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. “The Women of Lockerbie” may serve as catharsis for modern angst or timeless conflicts.

“Terrorism is going to be our Trojan War,” Brevoort said. “The Lockerbie women are the Trojan women. They are timeless. It resonates with young people because they have always lived with terrorism. They are the women of Lockerbie.”

SHOWTIME

Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance presents "The Women of Lockerbie."

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22-24; 3 p.m., Oct. 25; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26-28.

Meet the Playwright: "The Women of Lockerbie" playwright Deborah Brevoort will attend the Oct. 23 performance and discuss the show with audience following the performance.

Where: Lab Theatre, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood.

More information, reservations: Call (229) 333-5973; or visit www.valdosta.edu/comarts

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