Time Stands Still

January 5, 2011;  Cort Theatre

reviewed on-air January 27, 2011

Sarah Goodwin, as played by Laura Linney, has almost been killed as the result of a roadside bomb attack in the Middle East war.  Med Evac-ed to Germany and delivered back to the states all broken up and hobbling about, she will not graciously accept assistance.  It is her mission in life to report human suffering through photographs, thereby, ostensibly, shining light into situations requiring attention and getting that attention.

She lives with James, although they have never found the time to marry.  Theirs has been a relationship in which they shared war, he documenting in words what she documents in pictures.  Pictures which transform action into a moment.  A moment in which times stands still.

Her editor Richard, played by Eric Bogosian, has, while she, Sarah, was off to war, married and impregnated the much younger Mandy, played by the fetching Christina Ricci.  Mandy’s eyes are half shut to the ravages of war while Sarah’s are wide, wide open.  Mandy wants to ignore it and have her baby and live as if all is well with the world.  James asks Sarah to marry him and give up the risky life they have both lived, one which he is now anxious to leave.  Everyone is moving on.

There are many kinds of love.  Puppy love, family love, friends love, love for a pet, mad love, glowing ember love.  We cry when we lose any of them, perhaps most when we lose the most intense, least lasting – puppy love and mad love, the adrenaline-fueled varieties.

Sarah’s version was falling in love with her Arab guide who was killed in the attack she survived.  That was when she felt her passion.  In the heat of battle, life on the line, doing the important work which sustained her whole being.

So how does such a one accept a stay at home life, married to a long-term companion for whom she feels, well, something we presume.  But like so many relationships, the zip has gone out of it and her true, blue companion in fire is gone.

At one point she even says:  “I live off the suffering of strangers.”

So what is a type A gal to do with a now-wanting-to-settle-down long-term partner in life and work?  James says “I don’t have to dodge bullets to feel good anymore.”  Apparently Sarah still does.

So again, how do you tame a Type A personality and settle her happily down.  Can you force or persuade the Type A out of such a person?

The answer is in the play and I don’t want to spoil it for you should you choose to see this fine drama.  And you should. If you like solid dramatic playwriting and acting, this is for you.