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Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012

Raw Details Power Marquette’s ‘Women of Lockerbie’

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It is extremely difficult to wrap one's mind around the idea of losing a loved one to an act of terror. Playwright Deborah Brevoort attempts to express that pain in The Women of Lockerbie, a theatrical fusion of contemporary and ancient Greek tragedy. Marquette University Theatre does a pretty good job of staging Brevoort's imperfect script.

As the play opens, we see freshman Michael Cienfuegos-Baca in the role of Bill Livingston. Bill and his wife, Madeline (Amy Burzak), lost their son in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. It is years after the tragedy, and they have come to Lockerbie, Scotland, looking for closure. So much of the setup lies in the exposition between the couple and a trio of Lockerbie women acting as a kind of Greek chorus. Because of the fusion of styles, the rote exposition doesn't feel out of place.

Director Debra Krajec does a nice job of delivering the proper mood through a barren stage and somber tones, but some of the complexity of the drama gets lost. The fusion between the intensity of epic tragedy and the complexity of modern drama is an imperfect one, and in attempting to fuse the two styles together, we end up with a play that isn't fully satisfying on either level.

This isn’t to say that the drama doesn't have substantial power. In stark simplicity, this play examines the brute power of human loss. The play is at its most devastating when raw details of the tragedy of Pan Am Flight 103 are spoken in simple words. In those moments, the horror of this reality washes away any desire for complexity.

Marquette University Theatre's production of The Women of Lockerbie runs through Nov. 18 at the Helfaer Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-288-7504.

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