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Time Stands Still

a Atlanta Premiere
CATEGORY :
by Donald Margulies

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 4397

SHOWING : September 14, 2012 - October 14, 2012

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Widely hailed as one of the best new plays on Broadway, Time Stands Still is the story of Sarah and James, a photojournalist and foreign correspondent who have been together for years and share a passion for documenting the realities of war. When circumstances compel them to return to New York, will their relationship of nearly a decade be more threatened by conventional domesticity than the roadside bombs of Baghdad? Don't miss the Southeastern premiere of this new American play about finding happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Featuring Carolyn Cook and Chris Kayser.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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Post-Trauma Drama
by Dedalus
Thursday, December 20, 2012
4.5
Sarah Goodwin and James Dodd are damaged. She is a photo-journalist and he is a writer. They have been sharing a life and a Brooklyn loft apartment for many years. While covering the war in Iraq, they are each traumatized in different ways, and have come �home� to heal, and to, perhaps, rebuild their life together both personally and professionally. They have each had their own life-changing �Time Standing Still� moment that forces them to reassess what they want and who they are. The only question is, will they still want to stay together?

Donald Margulies is a writer whose specialty is characters who talk like real people, using conversation more to shield than to reveal, exploring the dynamics of relationships and how �what we do� informs �who we are.� His Pulitzer-Prize winning �Dinner with Friends� showed us two seemingly happy couples whose friendship is forever changed when one couple decides to split, whose choices as pairs ultimately affects their choices as individuals.

Here, we have two couples also, Sarah and James� editor, Richard, is there to help them through their recovery and to shepherd their work into new and marketable paths. And he has with him his new love, the perky and (seemingly) shallow Mandy, half his edge (She is NOT his mid-life crisis, as more than one character is quick to say). Will their blissful happiness urge Sarah and James down a matrimonial path they may not be ready for?

Like Margulies� other works, �Time Stands Still� is an eminently watchable play, populated by characters we get to know well, whom we get to like and root for. They are alternately funny and sad, profound and banal, politically astute and politically-correct naïve. They talk like adults, discuss things, fight about things, and avoid talking about what is truly important until it�s too late.

You see, Sarah�s trauma is primarily physical. Caught by a roadside bomb, her leg has been shattered, her arm broken, and her face filled with shrapnel. But she is self-reliant to a fault. She can�t stand the fact that James hovers over her, trying to anticipate her every need (and wish). She bristles at his overly-controlling attitude towards her recovery.

James� trauma is more psychological. After witnessing a brutal killing of a woman and her children (�Parts of their brains flew into my face, my eyes�), he returns home, so he wasn�t �there� when Sarah had her close encounter of the explosive kind.

To put it bluntly, Sarah�s injuries do not affect her ambitions, and she is �chomping at the bit� to return to a war zone or to some other catastrophe. James is done with war, with danger, with too-much-risk assignments. How can a couple survive when that life-changing �time stands still� moment propels them down divergent paths?

This is an almost perfect production of this beautifully conceived and written play. The chaotically full set by Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay is a marvelous achievement � a beautifully-realized loft apartment that tells us so much about the people who live there before we even meet them. And the cast breathes so much life into these characters that we can�t help liking them, wishing we could spend more time with them.

Carolyn Cook is the heart and soul of the show, giving Sarah a wounded vitality that reminded me of a caged panther � her injuries keep her in the apartment, but, for her, it�s a prison � she�d look much more natural in the middle of a battlefield with a camera in her hand. Robin Bloodworth, in spite of a longish hair style that makes him look much younger than Ms. Cook, nevertheless brings to life a wounded man struggling to hold onto his human lifesaver who is drifting farther and farther away. Alternately boorish and vulnerable, he seems like the perfect match for Sarah. Until he doesn�t.

As Richard and Mandy, Chris Kayser and Ann Marie Gideon are a study in contrasts. He is mature and weary and filled with affection for Sarah and James, but, when Mandy is on stage, he puffs up like preening peacock, shedding years and woes as if they were never there. Ms. Gideon has perhaps the hardest job � playing a young (�there�s young and there�s embryonic�) woman who can�t hope to match the experiences of the others, but who nevertheless is incapable of keeping silent about them. Her questions and rants seem shallow to everyone else, but she still somehow manages to win them over. It�s a guileless naivety that is quite effective, quite appealing. It doesn�t take long for Sarah and James (and us) to see what attracts Richard and Mandy to each other.

�Time Stands Still� is a play that resonates strongly with its complex characters and the unexpected twists of its story. It�s a through-the-microscope look at two couples as much as it is a picture-book of the four people who comprise those couples. It�s a funny and moving look at love, at trauma, at ambition, and, ultimately, of the range of behaviors we inflict on each other, from the most brutal to the most loving.

In a nutshell, it�s a play I won�t soon forget.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

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