Monday, April 16, 2012

New Review of Time Stands Still at the Guthrie

The Quote of the Day that inspired my A to Z Blogging Challenge theme -
A Word for the Day that takes on many meanings.

 Quote of the Day: A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator. John Steinbeck

Word of the Day: New

The word new doesn't vary as much in meaning as it does in its acceptance. Some people resist change. They don't want anything new. They're comfortable with the old, even when it isn't good, because they know what to expect. On the other hand, new clothes are nice. I could use a new car. When you dare to take a risk on something new, then doors, windows, and your mind open. During the discussion after the play, the actor Bill McCallum said "We accept things until we can't accept them anymore, then we make a change."

I am excited and encouraged by the new plays that twin cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) theaters are producing. The Guthrie Theater is currently playing Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, through May 7. You can read more about this play, first produced in 2009, at Minneapolis Broadway World.

With photography, it's all about timing. I was able to make time stand still by timing this shot of the scrolling words.

The play opens with photo journalist Sarah Goodwin struggling to re-enter her home in Brooklyn, physically and emotionally. She has been injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Her partner, James Dodd, is trying to help her while dealing with his own emotional wounds and guilt of not being with her when she was nearly killed. Sarah is a renowned photo journalist. Her photos bring to light the atrocities that happen around the world, most of them inside war zones. She says that when she looks through the lens of her camera time stands still. Her own mental focus sharpens like the images she's capturing and she works through the rubble, the screaming, and the chaos in order to tell a story and makes a difference.

The characters in Time Stands Still struggle with the question, "Is what I'm doing making a difference?" Sarah says, "We're here to record life, not fix it." She says that she can't go inside each frame and change what's happening, stop the guns, or save the children. But, how long can you keep that emotional distance?

Only four characters tell this story. Sarah Goodwin is a strong female, independent, and driven to do her job of communicating to the world what is happening. The opening scene shows you that she intends to work her way back to the field. Her partner, and almost husband, James, is feeling a change in perspective. Her editor, Richard, has found new life in a new love which Sarah seems to look down on. Then, there's Mandy, the sweet young thing hanging on Richard's arm. Her perspective of the world is quite different from Sarah's. You expect them to really clash. They do, and yet, they have moments of understanding and challenging each other.

In the discussion with the actors after the performance, Valeri Mudek, who played Mandy said that at first glance you think that she's written as a simple girl, kind of a dumb blonde type, but she's not that shallow. She has emotional and spiritual intelligence. I felt that from her in the opening act. And, I thought, Mandy is like more of us than Sarah. I'm like Mandy. I want to feel safe. I cry about the children in those horrific photos. I can't dwell on them, or I feel depressed. I, like Mandy, think, What can I do? I'm grateful that I live in a place where I feel safe, where my children won't be murdered on the street, and I can appreciate beauty and kindness.

This play has strong images and language. It makes you really think about what is happening in the world and how it affects people. I would recommend it to high school age on up. Go to the Guthrie Theater for showtimes and tickets and to see photos from the production. The discussion after the show was a remarkable experience. The actors truly understand their characters. They were able to meet and talk with the playwright, Donald Margulies. They said that he writes a spare script. Much of the acting is action with sparse dialogue, especially at the beginning. I admire the director Joe Dowling for giving us so much through actions and interactions. We're feeling what the characters are feeling.

For tomorrow's O post, I'll write more about the opportunity to write reviews for the Guthrie and the people I meet there. Bring your fork. I'll have more food photos.

Go. Create. Inspire!
And, don't be afraid of something new!

Journaling Prompt:  Have you seen "Time Stands Still" or been to any new productions lately? What about your art? Are people ready for a new artist like you?

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