Future technology permits five elderly people to go back to age 20 and thus elude death, but the supervisor of the project, Dana, has difficulty making these people happy about it and even keeping them in line. This constitutes part of the action in Lee Blessing’s splendid play, The Hourglass Project (2015), mounted for a very short time, as college theatre is, at the University of Tulsa.
What happens as well is that Dana fights to prevent her parents, who paid for the creation of the rejuvenating technology, from wholly erasing the subjects’ memories. Mom and Pop are cruel—just like the society in Never Let Me Go, another work which warns about the uses of technology. With the looming erasure, though, the play disappoints a little, but not much. It is still fresh and incisive enough, not to mention tragicomically sad. The same shattering effects that life brings to people near the end of their earthly time (Alzheimer’s, for example) emerge for these people after this particular scientific intervention.
TU’s production is the premiere of The Hourglass Project for regional theatre. The talented Blessing himself helped with the staging, and indeed it was—last night, October 10th—a fine production.