Love and War: Barker’s Time Stands Still

Time Stands Still is a powerful drama that depicts the sacrifices some people are willing to make in the service of a greater good.

Playwright Donald Margulies has created some vivid three-dimensional individuals who are torn between their own desires. Sarah (Kathleen Povar) is a photojournalist who has been severely injured while covering a conflict in the Middle East. Her face is scarred and she has a brace on her leg. Sarah’s boyfriend Jamie (Tom Lavallee) is a writer who has covered wars all over the world. He longs to have a family and a traditional life. However, Sarah isn’t quite ready to walk away from the excitement of her career. Their relationship is strained by a shocking revelation, which I will not reveal here.

Povar and Lavallee deliver sharp and effective performances. Under the capable direction of Edward Rondeau,  they capture the humanity of these characters. Sarah is a strong-willed woman who refuses to feel sorry for herself after enduring unbearable physical and psychological trauma. Jamie is a loving and sympathetic man who deeply cares about Sarah. He also has tremendous passion about his work.

Jamie berates his editor friend Richard (Jeff Sullivan) for not running one of his war stories in his magazine. Richard explains there is a set limit of stories about human suffering in his publication.

Richard’s fiancee Mandy (Katherine Preston) is a beautiful and naïve woman who challenges Sarah to do more while encountering people whose lives are being destroyed. “We’re there to capture the truth, not stage it,” Sarah explains. Sarah believes she is making a difference in the world by exposing the horrors contained within it. She decides to make a sacrifice because of the love of her career.

By the time the story is over, I think Sarah has come to understand the wars will go on even if no one is there to photograph them.

Time Stands Still runs through October 23. Barker Playhouse. 400 Benefit St. Providence. For more information, go to playersri.org.

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