Internationally Acclaimed Playwright Speaks at EMU

Emily Hertzler, Weather Vane student newspaper

No one wanted to see it. The memories were too painful. The script was rejected. The show opened to rough reviews. The playwright was fired because it appeared she really screwed this one up. Even that did not stop Deborah Brevoort, who paid EMU a visit to watch her show and talk to students this past Saturday.

Playwright Deborah Brevoort
Playwright Deborah Brevoort gives a talkback after Saturday’s performance of ‘Women of Lockerbie.’ Seniors Greta Shenk and Emily Hertzler listen in. (Photo:Amy Schmid)

Internationally acclaimed playwright, Deborah Brevoort, author of the production “Women of Lockerbie,” was up against a lot of opposition to get her play heard by the masses in the 1990s. Based on the first terrorist attack against America, “Lockerbie” told the story of the aftermath of the plane crash and the response of the women from Lockerbie. Told by many that “No one wants to see this,” Brevoort kept pushing for her poignant yet horrific story to be told. During the 1990s, few wanted to hear the sad tale that painted a picture of a vulnerable America. However, after September 11, the play finally received the attention it deserves.

According to the playwright, the idea for the play came to her in 1997. She was channel-surfing late at night when she came upon the image of the cockpit of Pan Am 103 smoldering in the hills of Lockerbie. A news channel was running a special on the nearly decade-old disaster, and Brevoort was surprised to find the story of the women who washed and returned clothes to the crash victims’ families a rather uplifting yet painful story.

She woke up the next morning with the concept for a production about the Scottish women playing through her mind. She went to her bookshelf and pulled down books of Greek tragedies, which she used as inspiration for the show. She says that, “Inspiration is not romantic, but tied to study. It comes with reading and being engaged with the world.”

Her journey would not be an easy one. Disregarding later opposition to her play, she says, “I had to take the audience into the journey of the horror.” With this in mind, she set to work writing the painful tale. During the process, she discovered that, “Light is found in the darkest places. You don