TIME STANDS STILL @ Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre

By Donald Margulies

Executive Artistic Director: Jeffry George, Composer: Peter Kater, Scenic and Projection Design by Christopher Ostrom, Lighting Design by Bailey Costa, Costume Design by Nancy Leary, Sound Design by Elizabeth Cahill, Production Stage Manager: Jamaica Jarvis, Advance Stage Manager: Laura Kravets

Production Photos by Michael & Suz Karchmer

(Reviews below photos.)

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In a week that saw the world riveted by photos of a toddler whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach as he and his family fled war-torn Syria, a single image that captured the desperation of the refugee crisis in Europe, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater opened a stellar production of Donald Margulies’s 2010 Tony nominee “Time Stands Still.” Directed with subtlety by Michael Unger and beautifully delivered by the able cast. (The Boston Globe)

Something that is so personal, so raw in the context of the human soul is what audiences are given a glimpse of in the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater’s (WHAT) uncomfortably riveting production of Time Stands Still. This powerful and provocative piece of theater brings its audience to question what the true value of a passion is when it does more to deface one’s humanity than to strengthen it – when such a narrow focus overrides the basic meaning of life. Written by Donald Margulies and beautifully directed by Michael Unger, Time Stands Still cannot necessarily be viewed for all its value in the larger sense, but instead must be dissected and understood through the various individual moments that make this the beautifully raw production it is. The production itself is beautiful: from the set, which is equally as homely as it is rather cold (it is seen as almost half home, half institution) to the acting, it is simply a well-done production. There is so much raw emotion on stage brought forth by actors who must take a very emotionally demanding script and present it to an expectant audience. This really is a wonderful show. (Broadway World)

The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater production of “Time Stands Still” begins quietly, which is not to say fireworks don’t erupt as conflicts on the domestic front consume the four characters. Michael Unger’s direction builds tension and drama from the subdued beginning to an explosive second act where questions of morality and human nature are explored.
“Time Stands Still” is a play not only for our time, but also for reflecting on the nature of the human condition which seems always to be at war. We may want to turn away but we shouldn’t. (Cape Cod Times)

Director Michael Unger fully develops the play’s intimacy on many levels beyond the realistic and accessible script. By making simple wardrobe changes on stage, the actors reveal themselves physically, while giving intimate glimpses of the characters between scenes. He also makes use of Christopher Ostrom’s fully functional, contemporary loft setting, which includes running water in the kitchen sink, enabling the actors to go about mundane duties like washing dishes, as their characters’ conflicts and personalities are naturally revealed. Additionally, photographs of war-ravaged Iraq are projected onto the detailed set, making part of the image loom larger than life on one unobstructed wall, while another part of the set distorts it into wonderful abstractions of color and shapes. (Cape Cod Chronicle)

“Time Stands Still” simmers slowly in the first act. Genteel directing by Michael Unger moves placidly through the awkwardness of Sarah and James as they try to acclimate themselves to the next chapter of their lives. Unger’s exacting direction keeps the pace flowing with the aid of terrific acting and allows the relationships of the four characters to flicker to and fro from love to anger to complacency. You are never sure where the story is going to end until the final scene. (Barnstable Patriot)