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Olive (Hayley Smith), kneeling, and Madeline (SuzAnne Hieronymus) fight about who lost more in the Lockerbie tragedy as Aileen (Megan Voorhies) and Rosalind (Kyla Standley) try to break it up in a scene from “The Women of Lockerbie.” (Special to the American Press)<br>

Olive (Hayley Smith), kneeling, and Madeline (SuzAnne Hieronymus) fight about who lost more in the Lockerbie tragedy as Aileen (Megan Voorhies) and Rosalind (Kyla Standley) try to break it up in a scene from “The Women of Lockerbie.” (Special to the American Press)

MSU Theatre’s ‘Women of Lockerbie’ based on real-life event

Last Modified: Thursday, November 01, 2012 4:58 PM

By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

The McNeese State University Theatre Program will continue its 73rd season with the staging of “The Women of Lockerbie,” a dramatic story that stems from the real-life terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed into a hillside in Scotland in 1988.

The play focuses on a group of women living in Lockerbie, Scotland, on the seventh anniversary of the plane crash. They wish to retrieve the clothing worn by the 259 passengers and crew killed, launder them and return them to their families, but the U.S. government denies their request.

“These women want to turn an act of hatred into one of love,” said Hayley Smith, the lead actress.

A director for the theater program says the play is one he’s been wanting to produce for many years.

“I saw a production of this play in 2003, and I just really loved the power of what it had to say about the human spirit. I’ve always wanted to do it, but it wasn’t quite the right fit at the time,” Charles McNeely said.

“Last year I brought it up again, and it was selected. I was thrilled to direct it because theater is about human beings, and this piece is about the power and strength of the human spirit, and I love it for that reason.”

The cast features McNeese theater students: Smith, Patrick Kelly, SuzAnne Hieronymus, Elise Hamilton, Kevin Delaney, George Jones, Kyla Standley and Megan Voorhies.

Smith, who has been involved with two other McNeese Theatre productions, said the play has stretched her artistic abilities.

“This play has been a challenge for me. I’ve never had to be a 65-year-old Scottish woman before,” she said. “I wanted to be this character because this is her personal story of when the plane crashed. She’s such a strong character who has suffered in ways that she doesn’t reveal until the climax.”

McNeely said that ultimately the play answers the question of what people have to do to overcome tragedy.

“We ask ourselves, ‘How do we as human beings overcome great sorrow, and what should we do to bring peace to our souls?’ ” he said.

“This play will give you an example of how others have done it, and hopefully will help people who have experienced any kind of tragedy reach a little more peace.”

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