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Time Stands Still

A photograph captures a moment, essentially an interval of light represented by the shutter speed of the camera. Once captured, Time Stands Still, literally. In Curious Theatre's current regional premiere of Donald Margulies' play by this title, the metaphor begins with Sara Goodwin (Tara Falk), a photo-journalist whose forte is capturing the ravages of war.

Tara Falk as Sarah Goodwin
Tara Falk as Sarah Goodwin
Photo: Michael Ensminger
The photographic metaphor, however, is not the be all and end all here; rather, it is breathtakingly employed to examine relationships, particularly involving artists, with a tip of the hat to those whose gifts lie in the realm of the heart.

Falk is a force of nature, not unlike her character's specialty, Nature and armed conflict being akin in much the way that Acts of G-d and Acts of War are cited when insurance companies don't want to pay for something; but, in Time Stands Still, all accounts are settled to everyone's satisfaction.

Most extraordinarily, Margulies conjures this elegant balance while providing a catharsis in nearly every scene, in a genre-busting, paradigm-shattering theatrical display.

In a deft bit of directorial razzle-dazzle, Christy-Montour Larson captures these moments in scene-punctuating snap shots, for us to peruse like tracers, as the lights come down on each set of emotional pyrotechnics.

Michael Morgan as James Dodd and Tara Falk as Sarah Goodwin
Michael Morgan as James Dodd
and Tara Falk as Sarah Goodwin
Photo: Michael Ensminger
Sarah's long-time love interest, James Dodd (Michael Morgan) is a writer and journalist. James returned early from their last trip to the war zone, after suffering a breakdown following a particularly gruesome incident. Now, they are both back in the confines of their apartment, together and apart, with periodic visits from their magazine editor, Richard Ehrlich (David Russell) and his new love, Mandy Bloom (Devon James).

If there is an artistic type that is the polar opposite of Sarah's in-the-moment photographer it is the writer's-block challenged James, for whom time never stands still, but ticks away as a reminder of impending deadlines and the expectations assigned to the deliverables.

Morgan moves between James' mercurial emotional shifts with ease and total commitment—from deep concern over Sarah's well being to anger over her choices, all the while nurturing a desperation over his own state and difficulties with his work.

(Left to right) Devon James as Mandy, David Russell as Richard, and Tara Falk as Sarah
(L to R) Devon James as Mandy,
David Russell as Richard,
and Tara Falk as Sarah
Photo: Michael Ensminger
Russell is a refreshingly breezy Richard, having come to terms with his own needs, no longer feeling that the intellectual and artistic payoff of a relationship justifies its difficulties.

The sleeper here is Mandy. At first face, she seems a lightweight captured by the formidable gravity of Richard and his friends. Mandy's guilelessness is laugh out loud funny in Devon James deadpan delivery, but more importantly, James lays bare Mandy's heart, shifting the assumptions underlying Margulies well-honed and power-packed dialogue.

And if the script and production hadn't already dazzled us in spades, Magulies delivers some incredible zingers for the literati, including an astute observation regarding desensitization and cathrasis, and the kicker—how a shift from third to first person in Sarah's emails reveals the direction of her heart.

Curious Theatre Company's presentation of Time Stands Still runs through December 15th. For more information: 303-623-0524 or www.curioustheatre.org.

Bob Bows

 

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