As its name suggests, this play by Lee Gershuny is about the Lockerbie tragedy when a bomb explosion over Lockerbie of PanAm 103 in December 1988 killed 270 people. The play imagines what happened through the perspective of six passengers on board the fatal flight. They are all fictional although one is based on one of the actual victims – the character John was inspired by Major Chuck McKee, a US military intelligence agent. It is a short piece, only around 45 minutes long, but it is well told and very effective.
The play starts in the Airport departure lounge with its hum of background noise. Six characters are waiting to board – an older American couple on their way home from a European trip, a stepmother and daughter with an uneasy relationship, the intelligence agent and his lover, an investigative journalist. The first four are blissfully unaware of any potential danger and we eavesdrop on their everyday conversation and bickering, reminding us of the innocence and normality of the victims. The other two are aware of and discuss dark activities involving clandestine CIA groups, drug running and illegal arms sales and suggest the motive for what follows.
With some simple rearranging of the six chairs on stage, the scene changes to the flight itself and we become more involved with the characters. The explosion when it comes is not a surprise to us but is still shocking. The characters awake into an afterlife where they observe the chaos and aftermath of the crash. Why are CIA agents crawling all over the scene and hiding evidence, why did the son of an FBI chief get off the flight, what is being covered up and will we ever find out the truth?
The final scene is very emotional with the mother and daughter (played by real life mother and daughter Isabella Jarrett and Hannah Jarrett Scott) being reconciled in death and as she sings her a lullaby I found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks. This production is thought provoking and sensitively done.