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In a Word, Fine, Very Fine

By Bruce T. Paddock, The Lakeville Journal


This play, "Time Stands Still," has an impressive pedigree, from its debut at a prestigious Los Angeles theater to its 2010–11 Broadway run in which all four of its roles were filled by household names from movies and theater. Playwright Donald Margulies deserves the accolades he's received.

This is the story of a photojournalist, nearly killed by a roadside bomb in the Middle East, recuperating in her Brooklyn apartment, healing her wounds, both physical and emotional, and facing the future with her longtime lover.

But within this structure, Margulies addresses a host of topics — journalistic ethics, love and gratitude, a person's responsibility to friends and loved ones and to humanity, and more.

But don't get the idea that this is simply a "play of ideas." It's much more than that. And the current production at TheatreWorks New Milford ably transmits the show's emotional impact by focusing on the human interactions among its characters.

Credit for this goes to director Sonnie Osborne and her extraordinary cast: Alicia Dempster as the photographer, Aaron Kaplan as her journalist boyfriend, Will Jeffries as their editor and best friend, and Erin Shaughnessy as his much younger girlfriend.

Shaughnessy does a fine job presenting a young woman with hidden depth waiting to be revealed. Meanwhile, Dempster, Kaplan, and Jeffries turn in performances that are, quite simply, very fine.They fully inhabit their characters' lives and the situations they find themselves in.

Osborne's direction complements her cast's naturalistic style by keeping random movement to a minimum and allowing the actors to sometimes talk over and around each other the way people often do.

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