A Matter of Time — “Hickorydickory”

If one goal of good theatre is to make you think, the play Hickorydickory by Marisa Wegrzyn certainly achieves that goal.  Hickory topThe overall concept of the play makes physical and mechanical the very metaphysical idea that each of us has a mortal clock which predetermines the time of our death.  In the play, most people are unaware of their mortal clocks, tucked comfortably behind their hearts, although an unfortunate few are born with them in their heads, making them aware of both the mortal clock and the time of their death.

The play is set in a watch and clock repair shop; a special one where several generations have secretly worked on mortal clock repair, tweaks and even removal, as may be necessary.

Troy Johnson in HickoryDickory photo by Lance Huntley

Troy Johnson in Hickorydickory
photo by Lance Huntley

I saw the production at the Dragon Theatre in Redwood City and here is how they describe the play:

What if we all had a literal internal clock that counted down to our time of death? This is the premise of Hickorydickory. Cari Lee’s mortal clock was tinkered with, so she’s stuck at age 17 for eternity. Now she’s the same age as her daughter, Dale, whose time may be literally running out. Hickorydickory is a funny, heartbreaking story about family, and mortality, and sacrifice.”

The play is almost three hours long, with two intermissions, but I was engaged throughout.   There are several strong performances,  particularly by Sarah Haas and Troy Johnson, a good set, and it’s clear that a lot of love went into its creation.  Despite some pacing and other imperfections in the production, I would recommend it.  The story is so thought-provoking it will keep you thinking and talking about it for days.  Suffice it to say that many of the consequent what is, if only’s and could be’s are asked, if not answered, and you will find many more of your own when considering the theme of fate—Would you really want to know the time of your own death?  If you did, would you tell your loved ones?  How much of your life would you take from or give to a loved one if it were possible?

Sarah Haas & Zoey Lytle in HickoryDickory - photo by Lance Huntley

Sarah Haas and Zoey Lytle in HickoryDickory – photo by Lance Huntley

I very rarely say this but I would like to see this play made into a movie. I think its magical/mystical/medical/alchemical aspects could benefit greatly from movie special effects.  In the meantime, go and see it at the Dragon Theatre through September 29. (And talk about it all the way home.)

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