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'Women of Lockerbie' an 'intimate' show

If you've ever been interested in an intimate theater experience in Mitchell, Madison Miller, a student at Dakota Wesleyan University, has created just that.

From left to right, Marian Ragels, Julia Jares and Ann Thury hold candles in remembrance of the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing on Tuesday during a dress rehearsal of "Women of Lockerbie." (Kella Rodiek/Republic)
From left to right, Marian Ragels, Julia Jares and Ann Thury hold candles in remembrance of the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing on Tuesday during a dress rehearsal of "Women of Lockerbie." (Kella Rodiek/Republic)

If you've ever been interested in an intimate theater experience in Mitchell, Madison Miller, a student at Dakota Wesleyan University, has created just that.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Miller will make her directing debut with the presentation of "Women of Lockerbie." The production is especially noteworthy because of Miller's choice to produce the show at DWU's Equitem Theatre-in-the-Round, instead of the usual full-stage production. The Equitem Theatre-in-the-Round, a smaller room where the audience surrounds the actors, is only used every two years or so, Miller said. It has its difficulties, but also its rewards, she added.

"I knew that whatever show I wanted to direct, I wanted to do it in the round, just because it's a more intimate setting," she said. "And then I found this script, and it's intimate, too, so I figured it would pair well."

The script for "Women of Lockerbie" is intended originally for a full-stage show, but Miller had her heart set on directing a show in the round, and was willing to take on the challenges.

"Women of Lockerbie" is adapted from the true story of the Pan Am 103 bombing that happened in the '80s, and takes place at the crash site seven years after the bombing, according to Miller.

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The play features seven actors, five women and two men, and revolves around the people of Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as a couple from New Jersey who lost their son in the crash. Amidst continuing to deal with their loss, the couple are fighting the U.S. government for the release of the crash victims' clothing. The goal is for the women of Lockerbie to wash the clothes and return them to the families of the victims to give them closure, Miller said.

"The (Equitem) theater is a smaller space, which is always difficult because the setting is a giant crash site, so it's hard to confine that," she said. "And it's definitely different for the actors because the audience is on all sides of you ... but they've handled it really well."

Despite being performed in the Equitem theater, Miller, with the help of a class of work study students and DWU's Director of Theatre, Dan Miller, was able to transform the space into the hills of the Scottish highlands.

Not only does the set feature a prominent hill with actual running water, Miller and her crew added some significant personal and emotional touches.

The surrounding floor, which at first just appears like dirty ground, is actually made up of clothing as a symbol of the show, Miller said.

The stream that runs across the bottom of the stage also features more than 200 photos of the real victims of the Pan Am 103 crash.

The show is set to run between 75 minutes to 90 minutes. Capacity for the Equitem Theatre-in-the-Round at Hughes Hall is roughly 50, Miller said.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Related Topics: THEATER
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