In 2010, UM-Flint received national recognition for its campus-wide commitment to civic engagement. The Department of Theatre and Dance will continue to carry that commitment baton throughout its 2011-2012 season, starting with the opening main stage production of The Women of Lockerbie, and a community drive to collect clothing for area charities.
Directed by Assistant Professor Janet Haley, The Women of Lockerbie takes place seven years after the tragic explosion of Pan Am Flight 103. Madeline and Bill Livingston leave their quiet New Jersey suburb and make the agonizing journey to Lockerbie, Scotland, in search of closure…and any fragment of their son's memory they can find. As Madeline obsessively combs the countryside, Bill meets the women of the village, who are on their own quest for closure–embroiled with the U.S. Government to obtain the clothing recovered from the flight's wreckage so that they may wash the articles and return them to the victims' families. As the grieving and isolated couple engages with the community of Lockerbie, each finds the courage and the strength needed to begin the individual journey toward healing.
Although the play deals with grief and tragic historic events, Haley stresses that it has a message of healing through engagement. "Talking, sharing, and listening with empathy and compassion increases wellness and supplies the courage needed to 'move on' through hardship," she explains. "I think it's important to understand that human interaction can help us heal."
Running October 28 through 30, and November 5, 11, and 13, the play affords not one, not two, but three opportunities for meaningful community engagement.
Immediately following the November 5 performance, Professor Haley will moderate an informal discussion featuring UM-Flint Assistant Professor of Social Work, Denise Dedman. Professor Dedman will discuss the grieving process and personal aspects associated with disaster relief efforts.
In addition, the playwright, Deborah Brevoort, will be on campus for an artist talk back after the November 13 closing performance. Both events will take place in the UM-Flint Theatre.
In conjunction with the play, the Theatre Department is collecting clothing for area charities with its "11,000 Pieces of Clothing: The Women of Lockerbie Clothing Drive at UM-Flint," Inspired by the women of Lockerbie, Scotland, who washed and returned 11,000 pieces of clothing to the Pan Am flight 103 victims' families, people are encouraged to donate new and gently-used clothing that will be donated to area charities–with the goal of collecting 11,000 pieces. Currently, donations can be dropped off at the Theatre Box Office and additional boxes will be in the Theatre lobby during the six performance dates. Illinois State University came up with idea for the clothing drive in September, to coincide with its own performance of The Women of Lockerbie, and UM-Flint is proud to continue their work, and hopes to inspire other colleges and universities performing this play to do the same.