The Hourglass Project: a glimpse behind the curtain

This week, the theater department will finally unveil its latest production, “The Hourglass Project.”

The play deals with the question “What’s it like to go from being an 80 year old to a 20 year old?”, and all the problems that come from it, in a light, humorous tone.

During an interview last week the play’s director, Susan Barrett, gave some insight into how the production came to be.

The few available details on the play, as far as setting and content, are very basic. The play is set on an island, opening a few minutes after the characters wake up from the de-aging procedure.

When asked about how building sets goes, the director said, “We start with a void, and build a world.”

The play’s author, Lee Blessing, came to TU in January of this year, and worked with students to build on his initial draft commissioned by Hendrix College in Arkansas. According to the director, the play is now more fleshed out, giving further character development and expanding on certain aspects of the plot.

”We’re still learning more about the depth and meaning of the play, right up until the curtain rises,” Barrett said. Exactly how this plays out is still a mystery, since I insist on no spoilers, but it does sound intriguing.

“Students have been totally involved in every aspect of production, the professors have only acted as guides and supervisors, it’s really their show,” Barrett said.

According to Barrett, the actors wore ankle and wrist weights to get a feel of how it’s like to move around when you’re 80.
The sets, costumes, lighting and sound design are all helmed by students.

While the sets may all be built, all the technical aspects have not been sorted out. The sound design and lighting are still being modified and tweaked, right up to opening day.

“That’s just how it goes,” said Barrett, “these are always the last items to be finalized, as we discover what works and what doesn’t. It’s very exciting, and very challenging.”

The play opens on October 8, with a senior matinee the next day, and a Q&A with Lee Blessing immediately following the evening show on Friday. The play will continue to run for the next week at various times in Kendall Hall.

Post Author: tucollegian

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