Author Archive for: ‘KedarAdour’

Time Stands Still at TheatreWorks has great acting

TIME STANDS STILL: Drama. By Donald Margulies. Directed by Leslie Martinson. TheatreWorks, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. 650-463-1960, August 25- September 16, 2012

Time Stands Still at TheatreWorks has great acting

War is hell and journalists and photo-journalists have been recording the devastation and atrocities for decades with the Vietnam War being the first to record those events in actual time through the media of television. In areas where TV crews do not have access to the ongoing destruction, written reports are documented by actual photos. In those photographs ‘time stands still’ hence the play’s title. Have you ever wondered about the personalities of those who devote a goodly portion of their lives doing the recording?

In Donald Margulies 2010 Tony nominated play Time Stands Still receiving its regional premiere at TheatreWorks his main characters are two such professionals. Although the actors perform admirably and often brilliantly, motivation is only partially addressed and the play sort of fizzles out rather than stimulate discussion. As always, the production values at TheatreWorks are superb with Eric Flatmo’s perfect artist loft scenic design, complemented by the costume design of Anna Oliver, lighting design by Mike Palumbo, and sound design by Greg Robinson. Rebecca Dines in the lead role gets better each year displaying the complexities of any character she undertakes. Local favorite Mark Phillip Anderson performs admirably and makes the overwritten part believable.

Sarah (Rebecca Dines) is a photojournalist and James (Mark Phillip Anderson) reporters who have lived together for 8 years and have had near death experiences covering a Middle-East war. James has departed from the war zone months earlier after witnessing a female suicide bomber at close range and having a psychological meltdown. Sarah has been seriously injured from a roadside bomb and spent weeks in a coma in a military hospital.

The damaged Sarah with full left leg cast, immobilized left arm and shrapnel pockmarked face is brought home to their Brooklyn loft to recuperate and reassess their lives. To round out the story line James’s best friend, middle-aged Richard (Rolf Saxon), who is also Sarah’s editor, and former lover, arrives with Mandy (Sarah Moser), a charming, loquacious young lady who brings “Get Well” balloons to Sarah. Mandy assures Sarah that even though “I’m not religious, I have been saying prayers for you” and demonstrates.

Margulies, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Dinner With Friends is a master at displaying the interaction of couples. Whereas Sarah and James are reevaluating their relationship, so too are Frank and Mandy. Frank insists is it is more than a May-September romance. Margulies has taken a page from Shakespeare and given the apparent bimbo (read jester) Mandy some very incisive human nature truisms that conflict with Sarah’s defensive posture. Wouldn’t it be better to feed the child, or help the injured woman rather than record the carnage? Sarah’s only equivocal answer is, “It is what I do.”

The time frame stretches over about one and half to two years, allowing time for Sarah to recuperate, Frank and Mandy to marry and have a child and for James and Sarah to decide that they should marry. And what a marriage it is catered by Mandy the events planner! Rather than being a happy occasion it brings up old emotional wounds involving Sarah’s love for her native interpreter who was killed in the blast that crippled her. The marriage is emotionally over the day of the wedding. After this penultimate scene there is a brief addendum that takes place six months later with James having a new live-in and Sarah steps to the stage apron and snaps a picture. . . thus indicating that ‘time stands still’ at this very moment? Maybe so but it is a far stretch.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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