The Hourglass Players: Seniors taking theatre to seniors

The Hourglass Players are anything but your typical theatrical company. The actors perform in dining, gathering, or activity rooms where the sounds of a nearby domino game can drift into performances. There isn’t a curtain to raise or a stage, for that matter, so every word or movement is visible to the audience. The actors converse with the audience as they change scenes and even costumes.

The Hourglass Players are a repertory group consisting of 13 members who took their show on the road a few years ago. They perform primarily for seniors at residential communities and senior assisted living facilities. “We didn’t want to be just another ‘regular’ theater company but rather wanted to reach an underserved audience,” says Jo Rake, a founding member. “We decided to form a theater-on-the-go to take theater to those having difficulty getting to brick-and-mortar theater venues.” Since they are a traveling company, the actors perform with just a few set pieces, such as tables and chairs, and maybe a few props.

The Hourglass Players from left to right: Jo Rake, Geoff Rake, Ron Revell, Susan Barton

The Hourglass Players from left to right: Jo Rake, Geoff Rake, Ron Revell, Susan Barton

Seniors Act Up

The company, made mostly of seniors, performs a program of several short plays. Each play lasts five to 25 minutes. “The plays performed depend on which actors are available and what has previously been performed at the venue,” Jo explains. “That means that we are constantly adding plays to our repertoire.” Their audiences get a kick out of comedies, especially plays featuring senior relationships and “senior moments.” One of Jo’s plays, The Matter with Husbands, tickles the funny bone of female audience members, for example.

What’s in a Name?

The group decided on The Hourglass Players because “we wanted something to represent the passage of time, and an hourglass seemed to fit,” says Tamara Friedman, another founding member. Tamara adds, “Each and every performance is memorable in its own way, especially when the audience talks with us afterward and expresses appreciation. We leave that performance truly feeling like we made a difference in someone’s life, even if just for that day.”

The Hourglass Players are available to perform for women’s and men’s groups as well as for special functions or fundraisers. To schedule a performance, contact Susan Barton at 512-314-6372, send a message to, or visit the group’s Facebook page. Please note that the group does charge a performance fee to cover royalties and other performance expenses.

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