note: entire contents copyright 2011 by Sheila Barth
“I watched a little baby die today,” American TV news correspondent Marie Colvin told the world last week, her voice tinged with sadness, as she dangerously traveled through areas the Syrian army was shelling, killing innocent civilians.
Minutes later, Colvin, who wore a black eye patch from injuries sustained on a previous reporting mission, and her French photojournalist partner, Remi Ochlik, were killed, with 74 others.
Like so many of her fellow journalists committed to revealing atrocities against humanity, Colvin placed herself in danger. It was her mission - to let the Western world bear witness to these nightmares. Sadly, she joined legions of fallen fellow journalists, photojournalists and TV cameramen who had placed themselves in harm’s way, jeopardizing their lives.
Donald Margulies‘ moving new play, “Time Stands Still,” currently appearing with the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, is a poignant, personal dramatization of dedicated war correspondents and their driving force.
Colvin is mirrored by Sarah Goodwin, a driven 41-year-old, famous, award-winning New York magazine photojournalist covering war, famine, genocide, and other mass inhumanities. She was badly injured in a truck explosion in Iraq. Although Sarah lay in a coma for months, her life in the balance, she luckily recovered and returned home with her arm in a sling, her leg in a brace, painfully wielding a crutch to get around. She’s tormented by flashbacks and the loss of her foreign interpreter, with whom she became close.
As she shows some of her photos to her longtime friend and editor, Richard Ehrlich, and his idealistic, bubbly, adoring, young fiancee, Mandy Bloom, whom Sarah calls “embryonic,” Mandy is horrified. In one photo, a young child lies dying. Mandy angrily tells Sarah she should have saved the boy, gotten help for him, instead of continuing to take his photo, while watching the life drain from his little body.
Although Sarah explains her mission is far greater --- to show the world what’s going on, with hopes of stopping such carnage --- Mandy is inconsolable. Mandy is also pregnant with Richard’s baby.
James Dodd, Sarah’s low-key fiance´ of 8 years who earlier suffered a nervous breakdown, is grateful Sarah’s life was spared. After going on so many gut-wrenching assignments, watching people get blown up and stepping through their body remnants, especially after leaving Sarah in a coma, to recover in a hospital in Germany, he’s had enough. James wants to do normal things, lead a normal life, get married, have children, and write simpler, less sensational pieces.
Other controversies between the couple rear their ugly heads. which James is determined to overcome. Although he convinces Sarah to marry him, she becomes restless. After accepting an assignment in a women’s prison and daycare center, she experiences a cathartic experience, evoking a painful flashback. Sarah realizes she must return to her mission in life.
Director Scott Edmiston has gathered terrific, talented Boston actors, and leads them effortlessly here. Portraying Sarah, Laura Latreille is fantastic, her adrenaline stuck in high gear, exhibiting the news correspondent’s insatiable desire to reveal truth to the world, while Barlow Adamson is also outstanding as the frustrated, tormented James.
Erica Spyres as Mandy is fantastic, a youthful, idealistic foil who seems clueless but is instinctively wiser; and Jeremiah Kissel as Richard is a soothing fulcrum, a peacemaker between Sarah and James and the money-driven supervising editors.
Adding intensity to this sterling cast are Karen Perlow’s lighting, Dewey Dellay’s sound design, especially during flashbacks, and Janie Howland’s set design.
In today’s explosive international climate, “Time Stands Still” is a dramatic coup that shouldn’t be missed.
BOX INFO: Two-act, two-hour play written by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies, directed by Scott Edmiston, appearing at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St., Boston, through March 17. Performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays, 3,8 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m., with matinee March 14 at 2 p.m. and a talkback after the March 4th 3 p.m. performance. Tickets are $25-$56, seniors, $5 off; student rush, $10; group rates also. Call the Box Office at 617-585-5678 or visit lyricstage.com.