“Time Stands Still” focuses on a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Don’t miss this rare play that encompasses universal issues and personal problems with equal compassionate insight, opening at Ovation Stage at Three Penny Theatre on Aug. 24.
“Time Stands Still” is handily Donald Margulies’ finest play since the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Dinner with Friends.” This new play explores the relationship between two couples at a crucial juncture in their lives, when the desire to move forward clashes with the instinct to stay comfortably, or even uncomfortably, in place.
Sarah Goodwin, the complicated woman at the heart of “Time Stands Still,” seems to thrive on conflict. She’s a photojournalist who covers wars and global strife and keeps chaos at arm’s length by trapping it in the camera lens, exerting a fierce control over moments of horror by fixing them in time. As the play opens, the challenges facing Sarah and her partner, James Dodd, seem clear enough. James has just brought Sarah home from a hospital where she was recuperating from severe injuries suffered while she was covering the war in Iraq. Sarah rebuffs James’s constant efforts to cushion her from the bumps and bruises of recovery. His anxiety is amplified by a lingering sense of guilt: a reporter himself, he had suffered a breakdown in Iraq and returned to the United States shortly before Sarah’s accident, which has left her with a bum leg and scarred face.
Just how much has changed since Sarah was on assignment is brought home when they receive a visit from their good friend Richard, Sarah’s former flame. Richard has a new, much younger girlfriend in tow, Mandy. The uneasy relationship between Sarah and James is contrasted with the effortless companionship of Richard and Mandy. Donald Margulies’s quietly powerful drama illustrates just how much pain and trauma are involved in the everyday business of two people creating a life together, one that accommodates the mistakes of the past, the reality of the present and the changes that the future may bring.
The play, recommended for mature audiences, is directed by Maggie Adair Upton. The cast: Beth Edwards as Sarah Goodwin; James Andrew as James Dodd; Earl Victorine as Richard Ehrlich; and Amber Marsh as Mandy Bloom.
“Time Stands Still” runs Aug. 24 through Sept. 18 at the Three Penny Theatre, 1723 25th St. in Sacramento, with showtimes at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $18 general admission $18 and $15 senior/student/SARTA. Purchase them online at ovationstage.com or call (916) 448-0312.