Two broken people return home from covering the war in Iraq to find shifting priorities and changed sensibilities in Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still, directed for its Toronto Fringe run by Jordan Merkur.
Photo journalist Sarah (Kirstin Rae Hinton) returns home to writer James (Jason Jazrawy) after narrowly escaping death from a roadside bomb that killed her interpreter Tariq. James is himself recovering from shell shock after witnessing an earlier bombing in extreme close-up – and both are struggling to heal, and getting used to being back home and together again. Photo editor and friend Richard (Sam Rosenthal) has news of his own: a new love in his life, the much younger Mandy (Carleigh Beverly).
The cast deftly and truthfully navigates the mine field of emotions and revelations with dark humour, and there is a brothers-in-arms camaraderie between Sarah and James, and even Richard. Hinton gives a strong, edgy performance as Sarah, a sharp-witted adrenaline junkie, out to save the world and extremely passionate about her work, but now struggling with losing her well-honed distance with her subjects and questioning the value of her photos. Jazrawy’s James is nicely layered, dealing with his own inner conflict, and fiercely protective and in love with Sarah, all while both come to terms with their diverging paths. As Richard, Rosenthal is a warm, affable friend and colleague, a good sport and also managing the changing priorities in his life, his relationship with Mandy being a prime example. Beverly’s Mandy is wonderfully sweet and naïve, but despite Mandy’s lack of academic and shared pop culture knowledge, she has a certain ‘from the mouths of babes’ wisdom.
Time Stands Still is an edgy, darkly funny and deeply human story of relationships and wartime journalism.