Review: “Time Stands Still” at Theater for the New City

Anthony J. Piccione

  • New York City Critic

Anyone who’s ever been in love knows that it isn’t always easy, and that it doesn’t always end pretty. As people grow with each other, they realize that their interests aren’t as mutual as perhaps they once were, and that perhaps the idea of the person whom they once loved no longer matches up with whom they really are. This is a very basic premise that is explored in the play Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, which was recently revived for an Off-Off-Broadway run at Theater for the New City.

For those unfamiliar with the play, first produced in 2009 and nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, it follows two couples: One between a warzone reporter and a struggling screenwriter, and the other between the reporter’s editor and his new muse whom is half his age. Over the course of the play, things unravel in their lives and relationships, as they realize things about each other that they hadn’t noticed before, and learn that the futures they once had in mind for each other weren’t meant to be.

Under the direction of Joan Kane, the play is staged wonderfully and leaves the audience engaged throughout all the humorous moments of the play, as well as the more emotional ones. The excellent set-design makes one feel like they’re actually watching the events of the play occur in a real apartment, while the projections in-between scenes also proved to be a nice means of giving a glimpse into the life of Sarah, the reporter recovering at home. The only other thing I will mention, which isn’t a complaint so much as it’s a side-note, is that there is a brief moment where one of the actors smoke an actual cigarette onstage, which I know might leave an uncomfortable scent for non-smokers.

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The cast of this show does an overall solid job at bringing these characters to life. Maggie Alexander delivers a strong and passionate performance as Sarah. Meanwhile, Timothy Weinert offers a fine portrayal of Sarah’s husband James. Malcolm Stephenson comes across as a gentle and down-to-earth presence in the role of Richard, while Connie Castanzo provides a fair amount of comic relief, at various moments, as the innocent Mandy.

This was a very well-produced revival of a very well-written play, which is easily one of the better plays I’ve reviewed that revolve around themes of love and romance. It feel like one which feels like it’s worth of being on Off-Broadway rather than Off-Off-Broadway, and one which I would think Mr. Margulies himself would be proud of. There are still a few more performances left of this production, so be sure to check it out for yourself at Theater for the New City, if you get the chance.

 “Time Stands Still” – presented by Ego Actus & LungTree Productions – runs at Theater for the New City from March 8th–25th. For more information, please visit www.egoactus.com.