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  Time Stands Still at Steppenwolf Theatre

Time Stands Still

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

For photojournalist Sarah Goodwin, happiness is rushing from hotspot to hotspot capturing images of global conflict. When she barely survives a bomb blast in Iraq, she’s forced to return home into the care of her long-time lover, James. She’s caught off-guard by James’s desire for family and by the simple domestic life pursued by Richard, her editor, and his much younger girlfriend, Mandy. Pressed to consider settling into a “normal” life, Sarah must confront her addiction to the drama and chaos of war. From Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies, Time Stands Still is a witty, intelligent look at what happens when ordinary life is refracted through the lens of war.

Thru - May 13, 2012



Price: $20-$78

Stage: Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

www.steppenwolf.org


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  Time Stands Still Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Austin Pendleton's direction goes much further than the Broadway production's — he treats this play as if it were something by Anton Chekhov. And that is greatly to Margulies' advantage, and ours."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...As the dutifully schematic story unfolds, though, it's clear that Margulies's real topic isn't the moral conundrums of frontline reporters. As always, he's mainly interested in anatomizing the domestic angst of the privileged class. Sally Murphy never develops much of an emotional arc for Sarah in her push-pull relationship with Randall Newsome's warm and vulnerable James. But as a middle-aged friend and his much younger paramour, Francis Guinan and Kristina Valada-Viars transcend the smug contrivances embedded in Margulies's writing."
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Kerry Reid


Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Sarah's arguments for her devotion to duty are somewhat undermined by her speaking through a fog of painkillers for a large portion of the play, emphasizing Sally Murphy's spunky-little-girl mannerisms, but Margulies' dialectic loses none of its intelligence for being rendered with the careful attention to personal reflection characteristic of Pendleton's Chekhovian approach to his projects. With the current plethora of dramas relying on battlefront reports for their inspiration, an exploration of how those reports are obtained should provide intriguing conversation for audiences for whom war is a spectator sport."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"... Director Austin Pendleton carefully examines each nuanced moment of this moving and delicate exploration and for the most part his actors deliver impressively. But as the central character, Murphy’s stilted and breathy line deliveries cause much of the emotional power of the piece to be lost. In order for the dramatic decisions the characters make to affect the audience we have to be fully committed to the personalities of the decision-makers and that’s just not the case with Murphy. As a result this production fails to live up to its full potential."

Zach Freeman


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Austin Pendleton’s production is handsomely staged on a gorgeous, appropriately photorealistic loft-apartment set by Walt Spangler with attractive, interesting lighting design by Keith Parham. Yet two crucial casting choices keep us at a remove. The sparky Valada-Viars can’t quite conceal her own intelligence enough to sell Mandy’s guilelessness. More important, Murphy’s breathy, thrashing take on Sarah never suggests the confident adrenaline junkie we’re assured she used to be."
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Kris Vire


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...director Austin Pendleton’s lean, driving approach trims the comedy as he ratchets up the tension. Pendleton’s laser focus is personified in Sally Murphy’s tightly coiled Sarah, whose compressed, expostulatory speech seems to require two breaths to get one sentence out. Murphy’s convalescing photographer is one obsessive woman, perhaps like any artist. Then again, the photographer is lucky to be alive. She was blown sky-high by a roadside bomb. Here, Sarah is also effectively shorn of her sense of humor beyond the sarcasm rooted in the playwright’s words. She is the alienated daughter of a rich father, and one suspects Pendleton sees her as prime candidate for psychoanalysis."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Austin Pendleton’s directing strikes just the right tone of realism and never allows the debates over moral issues to descend into preaching. Walt Spangler designed the wonderfully detailed loft set. Rachel Anne Healy designed the costumes, Keith Parham the lighting, and Josh Schmidt is responsible for the sound design and original music."
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Dan Zeff


ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...I had some problems with playwright Donald Marguiles’ script and Sally Murphy’s bland and too laid-back presentation of Sarah. Surly, an adrenaline junky like Sarah would be pacing about as she itched to get back to the action. Murphy plays Sarah too passive. I’d like to know more about why Sarah cheated on James and why he accepted her story without rage since his soul mate betrayed him. James took the news quite civilly."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"... As the foils whose conditionally happy marriage is the standard that Sarah intends to ignore, Francis Guinan and Kristina Valada-Viars are bracingly ordinary. Not so the elaborate treasure trove of a set by Walt Spangler that suggests all those theaters of war where Sarah performs like a trooper and to which she’ll soon return. As if we didn’t know--and far earlier than the author imagines."

Lawrence Bommer


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Somewhat Recommended

"...Playwright Donald Margulies has imagined the relational conflict for frontline journalists. Margulies puts active people into a homebound situation and forces them to redefine themselves. Under the direction of Austin Pendleton, the situation definitely feels forced. It also seems stilted. Conversations feel rehearsed. A few times, during pivotal dialogue, non-speaking characters are milling around in the background like they’re bored."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"... Directed by Austin Pendleton on a slick set by Walt Spangler filled with great “stuff”, I found myself wanting to get into this story, but with the problem in hearing the two lovers in confrontation, I know that focus was hard to keep. I struggled to hear every word and also see the action. Their loft apartment had lamps, but they left the lights off for a great part of the first act, so not only could I not hear them, it was difficult to see them."
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"... In the end, everyone in the foursome comes to their own conclusions about how to shape their own lives, and whether to record the torment of others’ from an intensely close perspective. Rather like war itself, the ending isn’t tidy. But it is heartbreakingly real."

Catey Sullivan


  Time Stands Still Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.


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