“Time Stands Still” Explores Relationships And More At New Jewish

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Wendy Greenwood as Sarah checks out James, played by Ben Nordstrom as he peruses her new book of photographs in the New Jewish Theatre production of “Time Stands Still.”

Set in 2009, the Donald Margulies play, “Time Stands Still” focuses on two couples and the relationships through both friendship and long and short love affairs. Like most of Margulies’ work, the main focus is on those dynamics that cause us to fall in and out of love and maybe even in and out of friendship. New Jewish Theatre has brought us a profound production with a tight knit cast.

James and Sarah have been together for years. She is a photographer who is the quintessential recorder of wartime experiences- mainly in the Middle East. She has been recently wounded by a roadside bomb and is recuperating, on crutches, with her long time lover though there’s a hint that the couple may have been estranged before her recent mishap. James is a journalist who seems to be undergoing writer’s block and has lost his lust for adventure. Therein lies the crux of their spotty relationship- she’s been overseas for some time and he’s content with just staying home now that he has left the war torn countries. She, on the other hand, can’t wait to get healed and go back.

Wendy Greenwood is powerful as Sarah. She is caring and loving but can’t figure out if their relationship can last through the different routes their lives have taken. She seems to be content when James suggested getting married and having a baby, but her love for her profession keeps standing in her way. Ben Nordstrom is a bundle of nerves as James between his concern for Sarah’s safety as she recuperates and his wariness for his best friend (and editor for both of their work) Richard. Besides his insistence on James cracking out a new article by the end of the week, there’s the problem with Richard having hooked up with a “sweet young thing,” Mandy. Both James and Sarah agree at the outset that this just isn’t going to work out well for Richard.

Stage (and New Jewish Theatre) veteran, Jerry Vogel, is full of vim and vigor at his new found youth. He tries to mend some of the hurt that he sees in his old friends but at times seems a bit too giddy over his romantic conquest. As Mandy, Eileen Engel is rock steady. Though coming across as a bit naive to begin with, she soon shows that she can go toe to toe with the “big kids.” This cast of familiar and seasoned actors makes this show click. It’s powerful and heart wrenching and time doesn’t stand still- it seems to fly watching these pros tackle what could be a difficult script to interpret in lesser hands.

Which leads us to the masterful job by director Doug Finlayson who weaves a spell with this story of love, mending both physically and emotionally and friendship that stands the test of time. Scenic designer John Stark has fashioned a small loft apartment in Brooklyn that certainly evokes the period and the people. Michael Sullivan’s lights enhance the production and Michele Siler’s costumes reflect the characters beautifully.

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Wendy Greenwood as Sarah and Ben Nordstrom as James in “Time Stands Still” at New Jewish Theatre.

“Time Stands Still” is a thought provoking experience led by a cast that drives through the pains and pleasures of complicated relationships. It plays at New Jewish Theatre through April 14th. Give them a call at 314-442-3283 for tickets or more information.

 

 

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