OBTC’s ‘Time Stands Still’ is well-written, well-acted drama

Photo by Jan Cartwright The Open Book Theatre Company of Trenton presents “Time Stands Still” through June 2, with Krista Schafer Ewbank (left) of Grosse Ile Township as Sarah and David Galido of Novi as James, American journalists struggling to make sense of their lives while recovering from trauma experienced while reporting in war torn countries. For tickets or more information, call 734 288-7753  or go to openbooktc.com.

Photo by Jan Cartwright
The Open Book Theatre Company of Trenton presents “Time Stands Still” through June 2, with Krista Schafer Ewbank (left) of Grosse Ile Township as Sarah and David Galido of Novi as James, American journalists struggling to make sense of their lives while recovering from trauma experienced while reporting in war torn countries. For tickets or more information, call 734 288-7753 or go to openbooktc.com.

 

Untitled-1A writer and photographer who cover worldwide atrocities find their lives changed when physical and emotional injuries compel them to recover stateside, which forces them to re-examine their future together.

“Time Stands Still,”  Donald Margulies’ Tony Award-nominated play, runs 8 p.m. May 19, 25, 26 and 31 and June 1 and 2, and 2 p.m. May 20 and 27 at the Open Book Theatre Company, 1621 West Road, Trenton.

Director Wendy Katz Hiller of Ann Arbor brings the well-written show to us with a strong cast who make the characters unapologetically their own, and keeps the play moving and on-target so the audience doesn’t drift away from the drama on stage.

Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township, who plays Sarah, reveals much about her character non-verbally, as she struggles for independence despite crutches, pain and other indignities foisted upon her after an explosive device sidelines her with its destructed force.

Sarah is the type of reporter who feels driven to reveal the truth of war zones and far-off atrocities to the rest of the world, and her life and beliefs are driven by her career. In her fervent hope that her photos “make a difference” we see a character who is both cause and adrenaline-driven, a woman who routinely sees everyday lives disrupted and destroyed, and who perhaps subconsciously prevents herself from forming a stateside domestic existence that she often sees randomly shattered.

Whether Sarah chose her life, or the life chose her, is left for others to interpret. Ewbank’s Sarah is the type of fiercely independent friend one both admires and worries about in equal measure.

David Galido of Novi, who plays James, a foreign correspondent, is the nurturer of the twosome, trying to sooth a chafing Sarah back to physical health while still recovering from the psychological trauma he endured on his last assignment.

James tries to get Sarah to look at her life, both to assess its viability and its toll, which also puts their differences into the spotlight.

The two work well with each other, and anchor the show with their characters’ pain and purpose.

Robert Shorr of Novi as Richard, Sarah’s photo editor, is likable as the close friend, colleague and touchstone. His character’s unexpected relationship with a young event planner brings out the role’s good guy side, and firmly establishes him as a strong supporting character.

Anna Doyle of Detroit as Mandy, Richard’s young girlfriend, creates a character that is optimistic without being annoyingly naive, and whose sometimes unfiltered comments trigger the leads’ relationship litmus tests. Doyle is likable as well, and doesn’t miss a beat as her character evolves over the course of a year.

The show is ultimately a show about people and not issues, and fully developed characters, and their quirks and foibles, make them appealing as audiences watch them struggle to reconcile decisions that will impact the course of their lives and relationships.

Good theatre makes one think without resenting it, and “Time Stands Still” draws one into the lives onstage while wondering how one would react in similar circumstances.

Tickets are $20, with a $5 discount for students and seniors. For tickets or more information, call 734-288-7753 or go to openbooktc.com.

OUTVISIBLE BRINGS ‘COLUMBINUS’ TO OPEN BOOK STAGE

“Columbinus,” a play combining fact and fiction, looks at the teen culture surrounded the events that led to the massacre in April 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Outvisible Theatre, based in Allen Park, brings two casts – a young adult and a teen cast – June 22 and 23 to the Open Book Theatre stage.

The adult cast, featuring Scott Anthony Joy, Ethan Kankula, Kate Martinez, Taylor Morrow, Tim Pollack, Tim Smith, Mike Suchyta and Meghan VanArsdalen performs at 7 p.m. June 22 and 23 at OBTC, 1621 West Road in Trenton.

The teen cast, with  Anna Bruce, Elijah Bruening, Eric Kudla, Cait LeBlanc, Brooke Scherer, Jonah Sobczak, Jack Welcher, and Miles Young performs at 2:30 p.m. June 23 at OBTC.

Written by Stephen Karam and P.J. Paparelli, with contributions by Josh Barrett, Sean McNall, Karl Milkler, Michael Milligan and Will Rogers, and created through the United States Theatre Project, “Columbinus” delves into peer pressure in high school, as well as alienation and hostility.

The play received five Helen Hayes Award nominations and the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play.

The treatment of the Columbine massacre is intelligent and responsive to the events that traumatized both a community and an entire country, and draws upon actual interviews, public documents and the diaries of the student shooters.

There is no admission charge, but donations will be accepted for The Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth.

For information about Outvisible Theater, go to outvisibletheatre.com.