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TIME STANDS STILL, thought provoking, well conceived at Dobama


Roy Berko

(Member, American Theatre Critics Association, Cleveland Critics Circle)

Nathan Motta, in his first full season as Artistic Director of Dobama, not only selected a dynamic script to start his reign, but has conceived a production that is not only thought provoking, but well conceived.

TIME STANDS STILL by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Marguiles, mesmerizes as it probes the meaning of life?  Why do each of us do the things we do?  How do we confront the past as we live in the present?  What about us is reflected in our worldwide view?

The horrific sounds and pictures of the Iraq war flash onto the windows of a Brooklyn apartment.  After the images disappear, we are left in darkness to ponder the visions of destruction and carnage.

A door opens and Sarah comes hobbling in accompanied by James.  A photojournalist, she was injured by a roadside bomb.  He is her boyfriend and a war correspondent, who is guilt-filled for having to leave Sarah when he had an emotional breakdown.

It soon becomes obvious that there is a tug-of-war between her career and his desire for normalness and a family.  This conflict is intensified when Richard, their editor, and his young girlfriend, Mandy, a party planner, announce they are pregnant.  Questions abound:  Will Sarah return to the war zone?  Will the duo remain together?  What is the value of the pictures and stories of war?  Will those images and words stop the violence?

TIME STANDS STILL opened off-Broadway in 2010 and had such strong positive critical reviews that it was moved to Broadway.

Margulies’ dialogue is absorbing.  It’s as inciting and timely as today’s headlines.   Motta’s focused direction and the talented cast, who bring every line to life, command engrossed attention.

Heather Anderson Boll is outstanding.  She wraps herself in the role and becomes a believable Sarah, taking the audience on an emotional journey.  David Bugher creates in James, a real person who makes his PTSD and transformation from dedicated journalist to a man needing a non-stress inducing life.  Peter Aylward as Richard is completely believable.  Llewie Nuñez marvelously walks the performance tight-rope between creating a Mandy who is perceived as a mindless twit but morphs into a person who has an instinct for humanness.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT:   TIMES STANDS STILL is a thought-provoking, well-directed and acted drama, with comic interludes, that mesmerizes and challenges the viewer to think beyond the story and look into their own beliefs, attitudes and life choices. Dial the phone or get on the internet and purchase one of the few remaining tickets for this show! This is an absolutely must see production!

TIMES STANDS STILL runs through October 6, 2013 at Dobama Theatre.  Call 216-932-3396 or for tickets.