Theater Review: ‘Time Stands Still’ contemplates conflict, at home and abroad

Avi Small

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The audience at a recent production of “Time Stands Still” left the theatre in a contemplative near-silence. This newest production from the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, brave and vulnerable, tackles weighty issues such as war, love and the meaning of art. Each would be subject matter enough for an entire play, and yet playwright Donald Margulies adeptly combines all three in “Time.” It is a fervidly wrenching exploration of how one woman’s commitment to documenting the atrocities of war can simultaneously infuse her life with meaning and separate her from everything she loves.

“Time Stands Still” focuses on Sarah Goodwin (Sally Murphy, a Northwestern graduate), a photojournalist recently injured by a roadside bomb while covering the Iraq War. Goodwin returns to the Williamsburg apartment she shares with James Dodd (Randell Newsome), her partner for the past eight years. She is severely scarred, on crutches and with her arm in a sling. Throughout the play, Sarah and James are visited by their friend – and Sarah’s editor at her magazine – Richard Ehrlich (Scott Jaeck, replacing Francis Guinan at the reviewed performance). Richard brings along his new girlfriend, the much younger Mandy (Kristina Valada-Viars), whose relative youth and na