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Donald Margulies’ 2009 Drama, Time Stands Still, Grapples with Several Contemporary Issues

The <em>Time Stands Still</em> cast includes (from left) John Honeycutt, Katie Barrett, and Olivia Griego

The Time Stands Still cast includes (from left) John Honeycutt, Katie Barrett, and Olivia Griego

Donald Margulies, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Dinner with Friends, likes to investigate the forces behind contemporary marriages and their disintegration or sustenance. He is insightful and delicate in the peeling back of characters and motivations. In the current South Stream Productions presentation of Time Stands Still, play now through Jan. 17th at Sonorous Road Productions in Raleigh, he deals with a war-chasing photojournalist and her live-in boyfriend, a war-weary reporter, and their editor and his newly acquired much younger girlfriend.

Several contemporary issues create the forces that play upon their relationship, including the value of bringing the horrors of the world to public attention, versus intervening and possibly saving a life, the controversy that arose from the famous Kevin Carter photo of a Sudanese toddler being watched by a hooded vulture.

There is also the need of individuals to pursue their dreams and fulfill their lives according to their own dictates, and rather humorously, the May-December relationships that fuel comedic materials, and may also reflect marital bliss.

Donald Margulies writes powerfully and provocatively, giving his characters plenty of meat to chew on. This cast is fully up to the task.

Andy Hayworth brilliantly directs this show, keeping his cast on their toes and clear in their movements, both physically and emotionally. The fights are good fights, the timing is precise and varied, expressions are easily read, and scene transitions are good. It is a flawless construction.

Brook North nails the guilt-ridden overly protective James (sometimes Jamie) Dodd, the war reporter who retreated from Iraq just before his girlfriend encountered an IED (improvised explosive device) and was seriously injured. He brings an alpha-male busy-ness to the part, pacing, sitting, getting up, hovering, just to the edge of discomfort, but not one millimeter beyond. His range is wide, from nearly contained anger to sensitive, even soft, tenderness.

Sarah Goodwin, the photographer, is steely and warm at once, in the capable hands of Olivia Griego, sturdy in her courage, and sudden in her comprehension. She and North create a powerful silence at the end of one argument, in which both see that the next step is the step too far, and leave us to our own thoughts for a few precious moments.

Brook North (left) and Olivia Griego star as a war-weary reporter and a war-chasing photojournalist

Brook North (left) and Olivia Griego star as a war-weary reporter and a war-chasing photojournalist

John Honeycutt easily does the best work we’ve seen from him. He has always been consistently good, but this time out he outdoes himself. Standing up to the larger North in one serious argument is done with such aplomb and force that we wanted to cheer. (By the way, he and North are co-producers of South Stream Productions.)

Mandy Bloom, the “trophy girlfriend,” is played marvelously by Katie Barrett. Mandy is not quite an airhead and, in fact, displays surprising substance as the play progresses. Such a reveal is a difficult task; but Barrett accomplishes it well, and endears her character to us.

There are two non-characters in this play, Tariq and Astrid, whom we get to know a bit, even though they never appear. They are given life by the ways they are referred to.

Todd Houseknecht has designed an attractive, functional interior for a spacious apartment consisting of room for a king-sized bed, living room area and a dining table. A hallway upstage left leads off to other regions, and there is a bathroom off to the right.

If you haven’t tried it yet, Sonorous Road Productions’ theater in conveniently located in Cameron Village on Oberlin Road, right near the roundabout, with plenty of parking space. We highly recommend you see this fine production.

SECOND OPINION: Jan. 4th Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article52938690.html; and Dec. 30th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/time-stands-still/Event?oid=4907708. (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the Jan. 4th Triangle Review review by Pamela Vesper and Kurt Benrud, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2016/01/donald-margulies-time-stands-still-probes-the-depths-of-human-experience/.)

South Stream Productions presents TIME STANDS STILL at 2 p.m. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7-9, 2 p.m. Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14-16, and 2 p.m. Jan. 17 at Sonorous Road Productions, 209 Oberlin Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27605.

TICKETS: $19.90 ($17.80 students and seniors), except $15.70 Thursdays.

BOX OFFICE: http://www.sonorousroad.com/time-stands-still.

SHOW: http://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/p/time-stands-still_24.html, https://www.facebook.com/events/510869169094884, and http://www.sonorousroad.com/time-stands-still.

PRESENTER: http://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SouthStreamProductions/.

VENUE: http://www.sonorousroad.com/, http://www.sonorousroad.com/location-hours/, https://www.facebook.com/sonorousroad, and https://twitter.com/sonorousroad.

DIRECTIONS: https://maps.google.com/.

OTHER LINKS:

Time Stands Still (2009 Los Angeles and 2010 Broadway play): http://english.yale.edu/publications/time-stands-still (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://ibdb.com/Show/View/484341 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Stands_Still_%28play%29 (Wikipedia).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Study Guide: http://www.thepublictheatre.org/assets/education/study-guides/2012-13/Study-Guide-Time-Stands..pdf (The Public Theatre of Lewiston, ME).

Donald Margulies (Brooklyn, NY-born playwright): http://english.yale.edu/people/adjunct-professors-and-senior-lecturers-creative-writers/donald-margulies (Yale University daculty bio), http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsM/margulies-donald.html (Doollee.com: The Playwrights Database), http://ibdb.com/Person/View/5091 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0546869/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Margulies (Wikipedia).

Andy Hayworth (director): https://www.facebook.com/thehayworth (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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