Time Stands Still
As the play opens, James is bringing Sarah back to her apartment after a few weeks of treatment in a German hospital. She is still is rough shape, with a mangled leg and facial wounds. James is suffering from survivor's guilt. He blames himself for leaving Sarah in danger when he had a mental breakdown.
All James wants is a safe life after many years of covering conflict. He asks Sarah to marry him. He's seeking a companion to create a calm, normal life far from danger and horror. Sarah is damaged both physically and emotionally. She needs to heal, and she is grateful that James is willing to take care of her. So she goes along. Yet life in the relative safety of New York runs against her nature. Working in a war zone defined her, gave her professional accolades, and helped her escape the greater danger of domesticity.
When James proposes, Sarah confesses she had an affair with her "fixer," her translator and guide in the war zone. The fixer was killed in the explosion that wounded Sarah. James had sensed the affair and says he can let it go. Sarah insists it was not an inconsequential attachment. It was love. This hurts James, but he wants to proceed with the wedding nonetheless.
As James and Sarah struggle though their strained relationship, they are visited by their editor and friend Richard Ehrlich (Gary Houston) and his newand much youngergirlfriend Mandy Bloom (Kate Costello), an event planner. Mandy exudes dizzy, naive optimism. She brings balloons for Sarah. One says "welcome home," the other, "get well." James and Sarah roll their eyes. Yet her love for Richard is real. And, while James and Sarah shrug her off as a ditz, she challenges the morality of Sarah's work taking war photos while not dropping everything to help the wounded children seen through her lens.
The first act follows the rising tension, conflicts and contradictions between James and Sarah. The second follows the tension as it rises to a peak.
Laurie Thomas' direction keeps tension high throughout the story. Every character is presented as real, every viewpoint valid. Reid and Wagrowski as Sarah and James deliver powerful performances. Reid captures the constant conflict in Sarah between her appreciation for James and her need to escape the domestic life. Wagrowski does a superb job of showing James' love of Sarah and his frustration with her inability to sustain intimacy. Houston as Richard and Costello as Mandy deliver fine performances.
Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies and directed by Laurie Thomas. Fusion Theatre Company at The Cell, 700 1st Street NW, through March 17. Performances run Thursday and Friday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00 pm, Sunday at 6 pm. Performances on Friday, March 16 and Saturday March 17 will be at the Santa Fe Center for the Performing Arts, Armory for the Arts. General admission for adults is $30. For seniors and students, $25. For reservations, call 766-9412, or purchase at the Theatre's website: www.fusionabq.org.