What a masterful way to open the Everyman's final year at their N. Charles St. location to present playwright Donald Margulies' wonderful dramedy, TIME STANDS STILL.
I was fortunate to see the Broadway production which starred in the increbile Laura Linney, Brain d'Arcy James, Eric Bogosain, and Alicia Silverstone in 2010. It seems I've said this before about the Everyman Theatre but I'll say it again. This production matches that incomporable cast.
The play concerns Sarah, a photojournalist, who has just returned to her Williamsburg loft from covering the war in Iraq where she was seriously injured by a roadside bomb. Her live-in boyfriend James, a reporter himself, also returned from Iraq after suffering a breakdown.
Upon hearing about Sarah's injuries, he rushes to Germany to be with her during her recovery. Sarah's injuries were more apparant: facial scarring, left leg immobilized and hench on crutches, and her right arm in a sling. This is her condition as they return from Germany to their loft in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
While recovering in the lovely loft, they are visited by her editor and mentor Richard who is accompanied by his new and much younger companion, Mandy.
Director Jason Loewith (making his Everyman debut) has assembled a superb cast and deftly directs them. Beth Hylton is just plain spectacular playing Sarah. She can joke about her new PHANTOM OF THE OPERA look and then later talk about "blood on my lens". She leaves and breathes for her work. When she's confronted by Mandy about why she doesn't do more when she sees so much tragedy, Sarah responds, "We create truth, not save it." She's a extremely difficult character to play but Hylton nails it.
Eric M. Messner is making his Everyman debut playing James and I'm sure he'll be back many times. He brings so much compassion to his role. While at first he feels guilt for leaving Sarah in Iraq, he cannot overstate his love and care for her during her recuperation from her injuries. He attempts to pick her up when she falls from her crutches, but Sarah rebukes him.
James Whalen is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. Who can forget him in his role of Babbybobby in the Everyman production of THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN. He's just as good here.
Also making her Everyman debut is the delightful Mandy Nicole Moore playing coindidentally, the charactor, Mandy. While at first she may seem quite naive (she's an event planner in a sea of journalists), you will get a much different picture of her in Act II.
Special mention must be made to Resident Set Designer who makes the Williamsburg loft seem so lived in and realistic. There's a poster announcing one of Sarah's photo exhibitions, a Mid-Town tunnel sign in the background, a poster from "Vanity Fair", huge windows which one would expect in an older industrial building turned into apartments, a huge door which opens to the side like in a barn, a workable kitchen. My only complaint? No diswasher.
There's effective lighting by Resident Lighting Designer Jay H. Herzog, and great period costumes by LeVonne Lindsay.
Finally, a word on Donald Margulies. Artistic Director Vince Lancisi states in the program, this is the third Margulies' play produced at the Everyman and all three have opened seasons. He is a tremendous playwirght and I've enjoyed all seven of his plays I've seen.
Do not miss this incredible production. It runs until October 7. What a way to begin a season!
For tickets, call 410-752-2208 or visit www.everymantheatre.org where you can see a nice video of Lancisi discussing the play.
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