Time Stands Still: Everyman Theatre puts on powerful performance - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Time Stands Still: Everyman Theatre puts on powerful performance

Beth Hylton as Sarah, James Whalen as Richard, and Mandy Nicole Moore as Mandy. (Photo by Stan Barouh)

Sitting in Everyman Theatre on North Charles Street and admiring the scene in front of me, it feels a little skewed to be on the other side of the stage plane.

Once the actors enter, the fourth wall will be established.  The fourth wall that says they don’t see us, but we’re the fly on the wall, looking in and seeing them.  It’s a privilege to sit here and look in for anyone, but for me, a fellow actor, it can be a blessing and a curse.  There’s a sense of great admiration for the incredible work being done before me and there’s a pang that is the slight envy that I couldn’t be a part of something so striking.  I think I know I’m seeing a good piece of theater when I have the inexplicable desire to be a part of it.  It’s in my blood or something.

Tony nominated Time Stands Still by Don Margulies proves to be no exception to my longing desire.  With such a meaty script on their hands, the actors have no choice but to sink deeply into heavy-laden emotions, tense struggles, awkward moments, and beautiful character transformation.

Beth Hylton as Sarah. (Photo by Stan Barouh)

It really is a script that tells its story without any need for Broadway kitsch or imposed additions by the actor or director.  The play charts the aftermath of a bomb exploding and nearly killing photojournalist, Sarah (Beth Hylton), in the Middle East.  It opens to reveal Sarah, her face burned and her leg bound in a cast, returning home to her apartment in New York City with the help of her partner, James (Eric M. Messner). The story unfolds to reveal what recovery looks like away from the Middle East madness and questions whether or not Sarah can keep away from what she’s always known and who she’s always been.  It also asks the potent question of whether or not Sarah’s career even makes a difference, as she charts news, but doesn’t do anything to effect or change it.

It’s powerful material, but dealt with on an identifiable level as it’s set away from the chaos in familiar city living.  Beth Hylton plays a wonderful Sarah, someone who is difficult to like at first for her jaded outlook on the world, but Beth effortlessly reveals the fragile struggles within Sarah, reminding us that her wounds are not only what we see on her mangled face, but that they also run deep, emotionally and mentally.

Counter to cold and abrupt Sarah, Eric M. Messner plays a very approachable and likeable James.  His sweet take on James feeds care back into Sarah and James’s relationship and brings light humor to what is a consistently dampened theme.

Similarly, James Whalen, a recurring face at Everyman, is a delight as Richard, Sarah’s boss, as he brings unending positivity and energy to the stage and convinces Sarah to return to work.

And finally, Mandy Nicole Moore, an Off-Broadway vet and debuting at Everyman, nearly steals the show when she’s onstage playing the naive, ever-so-sweet, and completely hysterical Mandy.

Beth Hylton as Sarah and Eric M. Messner as James. (Photo by Stan Barouh)

Now, I’m no expert, but if I may, I’d love to give props (…no pun intended) to scenic artist, Amy Kellett, for her work on the set.  This set is so intricate and looks exactly like your artist’s New York City apartment.  I thought everything was so well thought out from the layers of posters and pictures on the ground, never having made it on to the walls, to the pipe to the left of the door, which is used in NYC for heating (did you know that??).  I thought it was so beautifully and thoroughly constructed and that it never took a detail for granted.  Thank you for that majesty, Amy.

Lastly, the one thing that didn’t make sense to me was when only one stage assistant came on to move props around between scenes.  This didn’t seem to help speed up the transitions and it proved to be more of a distraction to the story than an addition.  Those are my picky two cents.  I wish I could have a dialogue with the director about them because I’m sure this had something to do with saving time, etc, so like I said – I’m picky – I won’t eat spinach and that’s my opinion.

But Time Stands Still is worth the gander.  And if you can’t make it out for this one, check out any other play at Everyman this season.  They have a great line up of shows and every show they’re producing this year is a Baltimore premiere.  That’s right, Baltimore.  That means you’ve never seen any of this before.

Time Stands Still
 is playing through October 7, 2012 on North Charles Street.

Click here for tickets to Time Stands Still.

About the author

Jana Stambaugh

Jana (it rhymes with “banana” or “anna”) is an artist from Clarksville, Maryland. Growing up her parents always told her to “be whatever you want to be.” Seeing as she has come from three generations of doctors, she obviously became an artist. As an actor, she has performed internationally Off-Broadway, and locally to the Baltimore/DC area. Favorite roles include Juliet, Ariel, and Caliban. Jana is the Founder of Red Connect Online, a social media marketing company that creates customized advertising campaigns for small businesses. You can listen to her podcast, Confessions of a Closet Christian, on the E-Squared Media Network. You can also follow her on Twitter (@Jana_Stambaugh) and friend her on Facebook. Contact the author.

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