by Donald Margulies, directed by Vladimir Anton
Winning project of the contest Young directors -Contemporary plays, third edition
Time Stands Still is set in Brooklyn and revolves around Sarah, a photo journalist who has returned from covering the Iraq war after being injured by a roadside bomb, and her reporter boyfriend James who is swamped by guilt after leaving Sarah alone in Iraq. They receive a visit from their friend Richard, a photo editor, who introduces them to his new girlfriend Mandy, who is much younger than he. The play focuses on their relationships and Sarah and James' prospects at a more conventional life.
“A playwright’s responsibility is to move people, to show them truths about their world and about themselves that they may not have considered in quite that way before. But my plays are not about ideas but about people. Time Stands Still is not a political play, it is a love story. It is very much about the choices and compromises we all make – in love, in work and, in war. Ethical struggles touch on all aspects of life”.
Donald Margulies was born in 1954 and is a highly appreciated American playwright and Professor of English and Theater Studies at Yale University, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. His notable works include The Country House (2014), Time Stands Still (2009) and Brooklyn Boy(2004). Sight Unseen and Collected Stories were the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1992 and in 1997. Dinner with Friends was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2000.
The director of the play, Vladimir Anton, considers that: ”Margulies` play does not offer solution-answers but potentiates the questions. In our world filled with doped-images as in a reality-show, in which a block-buster or a real war have the mediatic power to deliver to people adrenaline doses, what would be the mission of the journalists left in the conflict areas? Stricly that of informing (inevitably partial) of the events and always as the `breaking news`? To facilitate the knowledge (inevitably superficial) of the possible causes of the violence and attrocities which will become at some point `historical`? Or, maybe, their role would be to rather communicate, through words and images, the stories of some regular people, people like us, from whose destinies the History is composed?”
Time Stands Still premiered in 2009 in Los Angeles and in 2010 on Broadway.
Alina Berzunţeanu and Marius Stănescu are the first proposed couple, of Sarah and James, the photographer and the reporter, the person of image and the person of text, that traveled to all conflict areas and came back barely alive after the explosion of a bomb nearby a road, somewhere in Iraq; him – depressed and full of painkillers and antidepressants after the shock of seeing Sarah in the hospital, in a coma. The couple motivates its existence between the morality of delivering information and the not admitted (probably irresponsible) vivere pericolosamente. On the other side, Mandy and Richard (Ioana Anastasia Anton and Adrian Titieni), a couple apparently not appropriate because of the age difference and the cultural background, but the Chekhovian vouchers of a world that it is as it is, will stay this way. Is it good? Is it bad? And on which side?
We do not know, and fortunately, thanks to the delicate characters’ construction, we never will. The acting of the four is very natural and it follows the evolution of each character’s personality.
Doru Mareș - yorick.ro – January, 9th, 2016
The director put together a “golden distribution” with Alina Berzunţeanu as a lead role, who, each time I see her acting, I discover new faces of her talent; Marius Stănescu, playing James Dodd, amazing in each of his appearances (whether he’s playing difficult texts signed by Shakespeare, Calderon de la Barca, Brecht, Heiner Muller, Caragiale, Oscar Wilde or some easier ones), he’s involved in every word, every gesture, every move. Adrian Titieni in Richard Erlich’s part is natural, humorous, in perfect relation with the entire team. And Ioana Anastasia Anton in Mady Bloom’s part is just great. Tudor Prodan’s stage design organically completes the directorial vision, because we are entering the stage space imagining the lenses of a photo camera of which we are unsure whether we’ll see the beauty or the horrors of the world. It’s similar to sharpen blade that passes above our consciousness, above our souls. Is the photography ethical, moral when in front of the camera children, women and elders are being butchered? Is the photography more important to Sarah than life itself or it represents the escape from life? Maybe you’ll find the answers together with Alina Berzunţeanu, Marius Stănescu, Adrian Titieni and Ioana Anastasia Anton.
Irina Budeanu - Cotidianul.ro, March. 29th, 2016