Theatre Review: “Time Stands Still”
“When I look through that little rectangle…time stops.”
Donald Margulies’ “Time Stands Still,” directed by Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates for Firehouse Theatre Company, centers around young couple James and Sarah, a journalist and a photographer played by Audra Honaker and Charley Raintree, who just returned home to the U.S. from Iraq, where they were covering the war. James left Iraq before schedule after suffering a nervous breakdown and shortly after his departure, Sarah sustained serious injuries from a roadside bomb. James returns to Iraq to bring Sarah home and now the two must learn how to live a more conventional life and relate to each other again after so much has changed. James feels intense guilt about leaving Sarah alone and the subsequent injuries she suffered, which he feels responsible for because he was not there to protect her. Sarah has been unfaithful during their separation increasing tension between the couple.
After Sarah’s return, the couple is visited by Richard, Sarah’s editor played by Ford Flannagan, and his new, much younger, girlfriend Mandy, played by Aly Wepplo. While Richard adores Mandy’s carefree approach to life, Sarah is irritated by her and finds Mandy, and her work as an event planner to be, well, too simple; in contrast, Mandy finds Sarah’s work to be ghoulish and sad.
“Time Stands Still” is an emotionally charged play with not much plot, but it really doesn’t need it. The interpersonal relationships are the focus for Margulies and each character is very well developed. All of the actors in Firehouse’s production give strong performances but, Honaker and Wepplo are really the stars here. Both actresses fully commit to their characters and their performances are so natural and honest; it’s this authenticity that aides the audience in being able to easily relate to their characters.
Honaker portrays Sarah with the perfect balance of hard and soft, embodying her character fully. It was almost like you knew her, as if Sarah could be your friend or maybe someone you went to college with. I always find Wepplo to be completely charming no matter what she’s doing on stage. It was fun to see her take on a slightly more serious role, especially towards the end of Act II where her character confronts Sarah on her inability to see the beauty in the world around her, always seeming to be focusing on the negative.
The set by Edwin Slipek is hip and cool; very convincing as a Brooklyn loft. There are creative elements, like a giant panel in the background that projects photographs from the war during scene changes, but also doubles as a paneled glass window when nothing is projected on it. The costumes by Holly Sullivan are excellent and fitting of what one would envision that “creative-type New Yorkers” may wear. Pettiford-Wates direction is precise and makes what could be a slow moving play, absolutely captivating.
“Time Stands Still” is playing at Firehouse Theatre Project until May 11th.
www.firehousetheatre.org for information
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
Frank Britton is beyond creepy in his role as Mr. Roat.October 1, 2014
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