Time Stands Still – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

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Carolyn Cook and Robin Bloodworth in Time Stands Still. Photo by Horizon Theatre

A powerful and gripping experience, Horizon Theatre’s production of the Broadway hit Times Stands Still by Donald Margulies brings together some of Atlanta’s top talent to present a production that is truly the crème de la crème.

Both Sarah, a photo journalist, and James, a foreign correspondent, have been covering the war in Iraq. When a roadside bomb causes both of them to come home, they find their lives in turmoil as they adjust to the normality of life back in New York. Their relationship is tested due to the lure of their adrenaline-packed careers, shifts in desires and secrets that become uncovered.

Hearing the phrase “war in Iraq” could immediately lead one to believe that this is a politically themed play. However, Time Stands Still is not political. It’s an accessible drama that brings as many laughs as it does tears. It’s about relationships and choices that all adults must make at times in their lives with some coming to surface more abruptly than expected. As Sarah’s editor Richard points out, “Nothing puts things in perspective like a near death experience.”

Carolyn Cook stars as Sarah giving one of the strongest performances on an Atlanta stage so far this season. Saying that Cook is perfectly cast as Sarah is an understatement; this is a role that Cook was meant to play. Cook approaches the role with a subtly and grace that is truly amazing, and by the end she will have your heart breaking as she wrestles with her own emotions.

As Sarah’s longtime boyfriend James, Robin Bloodworth delivers a layered performance. As his character tries to be strong and supportive of Sarah, Bloodworth masterfully allows for glimpses of the pain and doubts that his character has as he realizes that life as he has known it can never be the same.

When Richard (Chris Kayser) comes to visit along with his much younger girlfriend Mandy, her presence comes as much of a surprise to Sarah and James. Played expertly by Ann Marie Gideon, Mandy is a bubbly event planner whose good intentions and naiveté often lead to awkward, yet hilarious exchanges with Sarah. The fervor that both actresses bring to their characters’ beliefs and ideals makes it thrilling to behold.

Director Lisa Adler has knocked it out of the park with this production. In addition to the illustrious cast, Adler has assembled a dream design team including Costume Designer Jonida Beqo, Lighting Designer Mary Parker, Sound Designer Thom Jenkins and Scenic Designers Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay. The elaborate yet intimate set has been so meticulously designed that it pulls you into James and Sarah’s lives the minute you see their Brooklyn loft.

The title of the play refers to what happens when Sarah is on assignment, looking through her camera lens. The title could also be apt to describe what happens when witnessing the performances of Cook and Bloodworth: the two offer that rare occurrence in the theater where “time stands still” and nothing else matters but the relationship between these two characters.

An unforgettable theatrical experience, Time Stands Still plays at Horizon Theatre through October 14, 2012. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show runs for approximately two hours with a ten minute intermission.

– A. Wesley