GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance programs will present a new play by Pulitzer-nominated playwright Lee Blessing. The Hourglass Project will be presented in seven shows, Feb. 25-27 and March 2-5, in the Jean Weidner Theatre at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $18 per adult, $15 for seniors and $10 for UWGB students.
The Hourglass Project has been described as a “comedy of anxiety.” In the play, a small number of elderly people, some close to their mortality, are given a chance to start over. They have given their consent to a highly unorthodox and potentially life-ending medical experiment. The play begins with a group of 20-somethings on a private island reacting to the consequences of these medical experiments and the profound ethical questions that one might not consider when offered such a life-changing opportunity.
“One of the great challenges for theatre programs across the country is that college students are always asked to perform characters that are much older. In the theatre business, when a production needs a 60-year-old character they hire a 60-year-old actor or at least an actor much closer in age,” says Prof. Jeff Entwistle, the scenic and properties designer. “It is not that portraying and understanding older characters is something a younger actor can’t understand, but there is a physical quality that is virtually impossible to hide from only 10 feet away. The Hourglass Project offers university actors a wonderful array of complex elderly characters whose youthful bodies simply belie their life experience and wisdom or lack thereof. A play like The Hourglass Project is perfectly suited to university production. I might imagine that once this play is published it will continue to be produced by universities everywhere.”
Playwright Lee Blessing will be working with the UWGB leading up to opening night, an exciting development for cast and crew, according to Entwistle.
“Lee Blessing is quite possibly the most significant theatre guest artist that has ever visited the UW-Green Bay campus. An acclaimed playwright, his plays have premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club, the La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theater and the Actors Theater of Louisville among others, and have been performed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference in six different summers.”
Blessing’s play, A Walk in the Woods, was performed on Broadway and in London’s West End and was nominated for both Tony and Olivier Awards, while also receiving a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in drama. It was also made into a film for television. Blessing is the author of more than 30 plays and screenplays.
The connections to the work of Blessing and his wife, Melanie Marnich, run deep at UWGB. UWGB Theatre and Dance also produced Blessing’s Two Rooms in February of 2000 directed by John Mariano. In 2013, Mariano directed Marnich’s play These Shining Lives.
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– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication and submitted by UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance
The cast and crew:
Talor Sohr* (Dana); Emily Ahrens* (Abby); Nick Schommer (Don); Selena Deer* (Melissa); Daniel Taddy* (Steve); Millie Haushalter* (Carol); Evan Ash* (Walter); Adam Rosenow (Chuck); Katie Kluever (Martha).
Directorial/Design Team: John Mariano, Director; Jeffrey Paul Entwistle, Scenic and Properties Designer; Kaoime Malloy, Costume Designer; R. Michael Ingraham, Lightning Designer and Technical Director; Jeff Chesebro, Sound Designer; David Cook, Assistant Technical Director; Kaitlin “Kit” Honkanen*, Stage Manager; Linda Parins, Executive Production Assistant; Toni Damkoehler Poster Image Design.
Production Crew: David Cook, Scene Shop Supervisor; Hanna Blecha, Assistant Stage Manager; Zeb Burks, Master Electrician; Abigail Stuckey, Kayleigh Faber, Heather Millet, Properties; Liz Galba, Costume Shop Supervisor; Cody Von Ruden*, Wardrobe Supervisor and Makeup Artist; Kiersten Zangl, Mariah Himmelwright, Wardrobe Crew; Clare Halstead, Sound Technician; Mathew Beecher, Jonathon Block, Vikki Englebert, Tyler Graetz, Azure Hall*, Clare Halstead, Jordan Heller, Sam Holzmann, Taylor Huff, Tara Jackson*, Melissa Kempen, Heather Millet, Marissa Osgood*, Erin Pagenkopf, Chris Poole, Joey Prestley, Adam Rosenow, Eric Schommer, Abigail Stuckey, Ashley VanderWeggen, Emily VanRossum, Julie Vandermeersch, Robin Zabler , Carpenters; Jeff Chesebro, Jake Gerlikovski*, Renata Gindt, Kit Honkanen*, Erin Kluth, Dana Mehlhorn, Heather Millett, Elizabeth Seidl, Matthew Beecher, Ntxhee Yee Thao, Electricians; Emily Ahrens, Kate Akerboom, Evan Ash, Hannah Blecha, Kelsy Kowalkowski, Dana Mehlhorn, Abigail Stuckey, Daniel Taddy*, Costume Technicians; Abigail Stuckey, Matthew Beecher, Andrea Cornett, Tara Jackson, Bri Wolfe, Paint Crew.
* Denotes Theatre Merit Scholarship Recipient for 2015/2016