An engrossing story of love: for a man and for one’s art

By Iride Aparicio

Time Stands Still 1
REBECCA DINES as  Sarah Goodwin”  Photo by Tracy Martin

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA. --Being presented by THEATRE WORKS  in a regional premiere at the Mountain View Center for the Creative Arts, “TIME STANDS STILL” the recent Broadway hit play and a Tony® nominee, written by Pulitzer Prize winner DONALD MARGULIES, is a moving play in which two lovers struggle to define what in life is  the most important thing for them.

Our main character is Sarah Goodwin (REBECCA DINES) a young and beautiful photojournalist, the title given in magazines and newspapers  to a person who works as a visual reporter of facts, telling their stories in photographs.

We meet Sarah as she enters the stage, that represents her New York’s apartment, with a shattered leg,  limping on a crutch, her left arm in a swing suspended over her chest and  still displaying a series of red wounds all over her face.   She is being helped to a chair by James Dodd, (MARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS) her lover and roomate, a war correspondent.

We learn that Sarah, is lucky to be alive. Covering the Iraq’s war as a photographer, her car was blown up by a bomb. In the accident, the other passenger, who was her translator was killed. Sarah lost consciousness. She had been in a hospital for a while. Yet what seems to be more important to her at this moment, is not her physical predicament at this time, but the fact that she lost her camera with all her photos inside.

What bother’s James, is his guilt.  He was in Iraq working with Sarah, but he suffered a nerve brake down and had to return to the States, living her alone there. Because he feels  guilty, he now tries to help her, but he discoves in the process that Sarah, is very independent.  In spite of being hurt, she refuses to accept help.

During the play, we learn that the couple have been living together for seven years. James (ANDERSON PHILLIPS) working with her as a war correspondent covering the war. He enjoyed his job, but after his brake down and many years of seen nothing but destruction, lame soldiers, burn people and children screaming in horror, he is beginning to think about settling down. marrying Sarah, and start raising a family

Time Stands Still 2
L-R REBECCA DINES, JAMES DODD, SARAH  MOSER and ROLF SAXAs Sarah, James, Mandy and Richard                     Photo by:  MARK KILAOKA

His inspiration has been his friend  Richard Ehrlich (ROLF SAXON) the photo editor of the magazine where they work. Ehrlich had found happiness with his new young  bride, Mandy Bloom (SARAH MOSER) a simple girl who wants nothing else in life but to have a baby and become a stay-home mother for the rest of her life.

The play, that has a very realistic dialogue, continues with a series of  short scenes which allow us  to get to know the characters. In the process, we become fully aware of Sarah’s passion for his work, the pride  she feels as she looks at  her pictures, her satisfaction with her life as it is. In spite of being almost killed and seen for years nothing but the horrors of war which she describes as the the burned bodies of men and children, Sarah believes that the importance of her job  as a photojournalist is that her pictures instruct  people.  “The camera is there to record life,” she says “not to change it.”

DINES is convincing in her acting and let us understand that her physical pain is nothing compared to her internal struggle. James had proposed to her so at this moment she has to choose between her Love for a man or her  love for what she does. Does she want to replicating what she considers the dullness Mandy’s life? or does she want to continue working in a career where nothing is predictable and she could get killed at any time?   

Also convincing in his dramatic role is James (ANDERSON PHILLIPS). His outbursts of madness look real. James has no dilemma in his life, he knows exactly what she wants. He loves Sarah. He wants to marry her, keep her at home and protect her for the rest of his life. But sadly, James selected the wrong woman.  What he offers Sarah, will never make her happy.

Perhaps that is the reason that the only happy girl in the play is Mandy. Mandy is not complicated.  She loves her job as “Events Planner” because  it makes people happy and MOSER portrays her character as an adorable sensitive girl who offers to pray for Sarah because she (Mandy) cannot possible understand how Sarah could go on  taking pictures of  suffering people,  instead of trying to do something to help them. 

In his role as Richard, SAXON also represented his role as the  photography editor, realistically. He was also good as the adoring husband of Mandy a girl half his age. In his acting, SAXON also allowed us to sense that maybe, at some time in the past he was in love with Sarah. He is still close to her and he admires her spirit, her courage and her beautiful pictures. But being wiser than James he kept Sarah at a distance because he understood her psyche better, he could see the artist in her.
TIME STANDS STILL” is an engrossing play for many reasons: To start with, playwright Margulies was able to give all his characters the necessary dimension to make them real. The audience feels for them. With her direction LESLIE MARTINSON, managed to get realistic acting from the four actors and the drama has an outstanding cast.

Time Stands Still 3

TIME STANDS STILL will be presented until September 16 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 500 Castro St. in Mountain View.  For tickets and information go to www.theatreworks.org or call 650-463-1960