Time Stands Still
Playwright Donald Margulies’ latest play is “compelling, if at times elusive,” said Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times. What’s compelling is the relationship at its center, between a war photographer injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq and her reporter boyfriend, who feels guilty for not having been at her side. Sarah’s brush with death has convinced James that a “normal” life, away from the world’s trouble spots, is the proper course. Sarah, meanwhile, is hiding an affair with her Iraqi translator, who was killed in the incident. She’s clearly nursing some pretty serious psychological wounds, but “it isn’t always clear where Margulies is dramatically heading.” As a result the play waffles, sometimes confusingly, between a relationship drama and a more complex morality play.
The play’s themes may be wide-ranging, but a quartet of actors lends Daniel Sullivan’s production an “essential unity,” said Bob Verini in Variety. Anna Gunn and David Harbour “fully embody Sarah and James’ history and conflicts.” They particularly shine during moments of awkward “physical proximity” or when their dialogue overlaps quite realistically. Robin Thomas, as the couple’s old friend and editor, Richard, is wonderful. Alicia Silverstone, who plays his much younger girlfriend, Mandy, recognizes that her seemingly ditsy character exists to introduce several of the play’s larger questions, such as “How can one take photos of bleeding kids instead of intervening?” Despite this play’s flaws, the two hours really do “fly by as if time has stood still.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- How I lost all my money
- The best books we read in 2014
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How to wrap a present with mathematical precision (and waste less paper)
Subscribe to the Week