Banyan Theater Company’s last production of the summer season, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies’ latest pensive, witty, well-written drama, examines the existential and ethical questions regarding the role of photojournalism in the face of full-frontal danger and in the teeth of heartbreaking carnage.
Director Don Walker describes his function as that of a facilitator of the emotions of the characters, as interpreted by the actors. He helps them to see the moment by asking, “What does that look like on the outside?” And, in this case, the “moment” is when “Time Stands Still,” as in a still photo or as in this moment in the lives of four New Yorkers, all but one of whom are involved in magazine publishing following a year in which 70 journalists died on the job. The contemporary play focuses on a turning point in all their lives, but it’s also about the audience. Walker asks, “How do you and I view the unpleasant ... aspects of the world ... ? What are our obligations as human beings? The real story is about people finding out who they really are and what they must do.”
The talented cast keeps the audience involved throughout as Sarah Goodwin, war photographer, returns home to recuperate after being blown up in Kabul. Katherine Michelle Tanner plays her with great sincerity as alternately aloof, assertive and indignatious. Jim Sorensen plays her accepting and optimistic journalist boyfriend, James Dodd, who’s fed up with it all and wants to begin a normal life. Tom Aposporos as Richard Ehrlich, their magazine editor and friend, is natural and sympathetic. What’s new to these three left-leaning intellectuals is his new girlfriend, event planner Mandy Bloom, who unintentionally provides much of the humor, which Chelsea Gonzalez brings forth with winning charm, naivete and cheerleader enthusiasm.
Chris McVicker’s set design aptly describes the Brooklyn, N.Y., loft setting, and costume designer Ross Boehringer addds viability as well as interest to the characters and the scenes.
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