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Act of hate or act of love: Play deals with responses to tragedy

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In a post-9/11 world, this year’s spring drama at Bethel College asks a fitting question: How can an individual respond to terror and tragedy?

The Women of Lockerbie, written by Deborah Brevoort, is set in the aftermath of the downing (by an on-board explosive) of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988, near the Scottish town of Lockerbie. While roaming the Scottish hills, Madeline Livingston, mother of one of the victims, meets the Women of Lockerbie. The women are trying to recover the clothes of the deceased from the plane’s wreckage, despite resistance from the U.S. government. Determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, the women hope to wash the clothes and return them to the victims’ families.

The play is written in the style of a Greek tragedy which, according to Brevoort, is “designed to handle the big emotions and extreme behaviors that attend these kinds of events by presenting them in a way the audience can bear.”

“Even in cast members’ first read-through of the script, I was struck by the power of Brevoort’s poetic language,” said director John McCabe-Juhnke, Bethel College professor of communication arts. “The play has much to say about the real human tragedy in the ‘collateral damage’ that occurs in acts of terror and terrible responses to such acts.”

The play will show three times Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 26-28, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center.

“Though the play lays bare the anger, resentment, grief, and pain of those who were affected by the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988,” McCabe-Juhnke continued, “it ultimately affirms the importance of human kindness in moving beyond our need for revenge.”

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. To reserve tickets, call or stop by Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, (316) 284-5205, during regular business hours.

Cast members for The Women of Lockerbie are Aimee Siebert, freshman from Topeka, as Madeline Livingston; Jonathan Nathan, junior from Moundridge, as Bill Livingston; Caitlin Buerge, junior from Kansas City, Mo., as Olive Allison; Kristin Wedel, junior from Hutchinson, as Woman 1; Jamie Lugo, junior from Wichita, as Woman 2; Kelly Reed, freshman from Edinburg, Texas, as Hattie; and Allen Harpool, sophomore from Sedgwick, as George Jones.

Crew includes Leanne Reimer, freshman from Hesston, as assistant to the director; Tim Buller, instructor of communication arts and assistant professor of system administration, as technical director; Kate Larson, junior from Clay Center, on scenic design; Peggy Mead-Finizio, instructor of communication arts, and Andrea Kaufman, sophomore from Harrisburg, S.D., on lighting design; and Josh Nathan, freshman from Moundridge, and Bailey Swiercinsky, freshman from Belleville, on properties.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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