1200 Anastasia Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Performing at GableStage (May 5 - Jun 3)
Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies explores those questions and many others in Time Stands Still, a 2010 Broadway hit that has just opened at GableStage under the direction of Joseph Adler. As in Dinner With Friends, the play that won him drama’s top honor, Margulies creates believable, contemporary characters whose life issues resonate with people who go to the theater. Time Stands Still is, however, more an intriguing character study than a fully realized, compelling play.
Two disparate couples drive the drama and, in the early scenes, buoyantly judgmental comedy.
Sarah Goodwin (Deborah Sherman) is a photojournalist who has just come home from Iraq, where she was injured in a roadside bombing. Shrapnel tracks rake along the right side of her face. Her right arm is in a sling, her right leg in a full-length brace. But that visible damage is symbolic of deeper, still-raw wounds.
Sarah’s longtime partner, journalist James Dodd (Steve Garland), has brought her home to their Brooklyn loft, a place that became his retreat after he suffered nervous breakdown while covering yet another war. He knows Sarah and an important secret, shares her values and feels guilt over the harm that came to her after he came home. And he’s thinking that maybe, after years of their adrenaline-rush careers, opting for a more conventional life would be the wiser choice.
James sees possibility in the choices of another couple, photo editor Richard Ehrlich (Gregg Weiner) and Mandy Bloom (Betsy Graver), his much younger girlfriend. Richard is a Manhattan magazine hot-shot who was, pre-James, Sarah’s lover. Mandy is, in so many ways, Sarah’s opposite – a sweet, sunny optimist who embraces joy and cannot understand the critical, psyche-preserving detachment that’s as much a part of Sarah’s professional tools as any of her cameras.
Richard and Mandy would seem to be an older man-younger woman cliché, and Sarah’s acid-tinged zingers when she first meets Mandy are some of the play’s funniest lines. But Margulies eventually gives all his characters their due.
Impeccably produced, GableStage’s Time Stands Still unfolds on Lyle Baskin’s simple but handsome loft set, a place decorated with the books and photographs and world-travel souvenirs you would expect to find in James and Sarah’s home base. Sound designer Matt Corey frames the action with mournful jazz, and lighting designer Jeff Quinn suggests both Mandy’s brightness and the moodier crossroads faced by Sarah and James. Ellis Tillman’s costume choices convey class, age and taste, from the dressed-down journalists to Richard’s expensive menswear to Mandy’s young, sexy style.
Adler gets strong, intricately detailed performances from all four actors. Sherman is a fierce, always believable Sarah, even when she and Garland are dealing with brief and unnecessary nudity that isn’t in Margulies’ script. Garland is, arguably, a bit too jolly and for a guy who’s dealing with guilt while working his way through the aftermath of a breakdown, but he and Sherman suggest a long familiarity. Weiner’s Richard is smart, manipulative and self-justifying, though he subtly melts in the presence of the life force that is Graver’s radiant Mandy.
In Time Stands Still, each character faces life-altering decisions involving marriage, parenthood and career. But sometimes moving on means going back.
Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent, have been together for nine years and share a passion for documenting the realities of war. When her battlefield injuries force them to return home to New York, they find their future together threatened by the prospect of a more conventional life. Penned by Pulitzer Prize Winning playwright Donald Margulies, Tony nominated Time Stands Still was hailed as one of the best new plays on Broadway!
"A powerful drama! Crackles with bright wit and intelligence! The range of feeling it explores is wide and deep."
- New York Times
"Insightful writing, the work is smart, stylish, timely and layered with an intriguing seriousness that inspires discussion after the curtain comes down -- a rarity these days"
- Associated Press
"A splendid theatrical experience! A rare play that encompasses universal issues and personal problems with equal compassionate insight!"
- Bloomberg News
Since 1979, GableStage, formerly known as The Florida Shakespeare Theatre (FST), has been at the forefront of South Florida's cultural renaissance. From its early days of Shakespeare productions at Vizcaya to its beautiful current location at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, it has won critical acclaim for its artistic excellence and has been recognized with numerous Carbonell Awards.