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Sunday, 10 October 2010 20:14

Broadway Review: TIME STANDS STILL

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Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Eric Bogosian and Christina Ricci  (l-r) in TIME STANDS STILL Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Eric Bogosian and Christina Ricci (l-r) in TIME STANDS STILL Photo: Joan Marcus

Playwright, Donald Margulies has deftly woven humor throughout Time Stands Still.  It helps soften the blow of the harsh reality of the consequences of war and their impact on one particular relationship.  After a several month hiatus, Time Stands Still  has recently re-opened at the Cort Theatre.

I originally saw the play when it opened back in January and liked it.  I liked it even more on second viewing.  Laura Linney and Brian d’Arcy James are intense as the young couple brought together by war only to have their relationship destroyed by it.  Time Stands Still connects with audiences because, being a country at war for more than ten years, we empathise with the post traumatic stress these characters deal with.  Perhaps it’s just the cathartic mea culpa we’ve needed.

Time Stands Still looks at war through the lens of a young couple, a veteran news correspondent and photojournalist.  James, the correspondent and Sarah the photojournalist are in Iraq together with their fixer Tariq.  (A fixer is a local who translates and arranges things for reporters in foreign countries.)  James witnesses a gruesome act of brutality and has to head back stateside leaving Sarah there with Tariq.  She has now returned home after an encounter with a road-side bomb that killed Tariq and caused her significant physical injuries.

Linney’s Sarah is stoic and aloof with moments of intense emotional introspection that break your heart.  As James, Brian d’Arcy James is terrific.  His character is eager to please and take care of Sarah as he yearns for a less traumatic life with her.  

Unfortunately, while Sarah was alone in Iraq with Tariq, they started to sleep together and the relationship grew from there.  She is still coming to terms with his death.  But now Sarah and James are both home and have to decide where to go from here.  

Eric Bogosian is perfect as Richard, Sarah’s editor; he’s likable and funny.  In tow is his much younger girlfriend Mandy, played by Christina Ricci in a charming and confident Broadway debut.  Ricci replaces Alicia Silverstone who played the role originally.

Time Stands Still has one moment between the last two scenes of the play where there is an obvious jump in time that seems jarring.  Sarah and James’s relationship comes to an end.  This despite the fact that they just got married.  Sarah, however, is destined to go back to Iraq.  After learning about Richard and Mandy’s impending parenthood, James seems intent on settling down and savoring the more peaceful things in life.  Amicably, they go their separate ways.  

Director Daniel Sullivan’s direction is a perfect match for Margulies’s moving and thoughtful play.  He’s found the humor in the play and used it to provide the necessary relief from the more intense moments.  

Set designer John Lee Beatty has realistically replicated a spacious Williamsburg loft and Peter Kaczorowski’s lighting completes the look.

If you didn’t get an opportunity to see Time Stands Still last Winter, may I suggest you catch it on this go-round.  It’s a funny, passionate, thought-provoking and heart-breaking play.  

Click here to read my original review of Time Stands Still.

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Last modified on Thursday, 09 July 2015 03:10