Ovation Stage presents the Sacramento premiere of “Time Stands Still” on the stage at Three Penny Theater through Sept. 15.
“Time Stands Still” is Donald Margulies’s finest play since the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Dinner With Friends.”
This new play explores the relationship between two couples at a crucial juncture in their lives, when the desire to move forward clashes with the instinct to stay comfortably, or even uncomfortably, in place.
Sarah Goodwin, played by Beth Goodwin, the complicated woman at the heart of “Time Stands Still,” seems to thrive on conflict. She’s a photojournalist who covers wars and global strife and keeps chaos at arm’s length by trapping it in the camera lens, exerting a fierce control over moments of horror by fixing them in time.
As the play opens, the challenges facing Sarah and her partner, James Dodd, played by James Andrew, seem clear enough.
James has just brought Sarah home from a hospital where she was recuperating from severe injuries suffered while she was covering the war in Iraq. Sarah rebuffs James’s constant efforts to cushion her from the bumps and bruises of recovery. His anxiety is amplified by a lingering sense of guilt: a reporter himself, he had suffered a breakdown in Iraq and returned to the United States shortly before Sarah’s accident, which has left her with a bum leg and scarred face.
Just how much has changed since Sarah was on assignment is brought home when they receive a visit from their good friend Richard, played by Earl Victorine, Sarah’s former flame. Richard has a new, much younger girlfriend in tow, Mandy, played by Amber Marsh. The uneasy relationship between Sarah and James is contrasted with the effortless companionship of Richard and Mandy.
Margulies’s quietly powerful drama illustrates just how much pain and trauma are involved in the everyday business of two people creating a life together, one that accommodates the mistakes of the past, the reality of the present and the changes that the future may bring.
“Time Stands Still,” is directed by Maggie Adair Upton and recommended for mature audiences.
Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $18 for general admission; and seniors, students and SARTA members are $15. They can be purchased online at ovationstage.com or by phone at 916-448-0312.