Life through a lens

Time Stands Still

<p><b>“It’s not all just ‘point and shoot.’”</b></p>

“It’s not all just ‘point and shoot.’”

Photo courtesy of Ovation Stage

Time Stands Still, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$18. Ovation Stage at the Three Penny Theatre in the R25 Arts Complex, 1723 25th Street; (916) 448-0312; Through September 15.
Rated 5.0

A career as an international photojournalist can be action-packed and glamorous. Until it’s not. This is particularly true for war correspondents who are brave, adrenaline-filled news junkies, addicted to truth-telling and dangerous situations.

In Time Stands Still, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies explores the life choices and motivations of Sarah, a photojournalist home to recover after serious injuries sustained while covering the Iraq war. The play is a timely one, with recent war journalists being harmed or killed while covering world conflicts. Margulies explores many issues in his fascinating play, including the personal and social price one pays in choosing such a demanding, all-encompassing field; the use of a camera as a shield to protect from human interaction and emotions; and the ethics of being an observer and not a reactor.

Ovation Stage’s production of Time Stands Still is compact, intense and intimate due to the tight storyline, a cohesive cast and the small 30-seat Three Penny Theatre.

It all takes place in the New York apartment where a prideful and resentful Sarah (Beth Edwards) is brought home by her supportive boyfriend James (James Andrew) to recover from her massive injuries. James has some understanding for what Sarah went through, since he was also a war correspondent, but his mental and emotional wounds from his experience have left him pondering both his career and personal futures. Add another couple—Sarah’s news editor Richard (Earl Victorine), who is losing his enthusiasm for edgy news, while claiming a new life with a much younger and guileless wife Mandy (Amber Lucito).

The conversations run the gamut of the moral dilemmas facing journalists, the righteousness of individual and job choices, and the escapism and long-term impact demanding careers can have on personal lives. The cast is spot-on—Edwards delicately portrays Sarah as a woman battling an internal emotional war within herself; Andrew gives us a sympathetic, yet weary James, in the middle of a mid-career crisis; Victorine as Richard presents an older, mature man ready to capture the lost personal opportunities of his youth; and a charming Lucito manages to make the young, naive Mandy an old soul making thought-provoking comments that cause the group to ponder and pause. And director Maggie Adair Upton deserves kudos for keeping the cast in check—never overplaying or underplaying any character.