Fred Stone Theater is bathed in the color red. Soft shades of the color are woven into the set; the loveseat is a dull, burnt red, the carpet beneath it is cream and brown mingled with red. On the bed rests a deep orange cushion, which plays a soft transitional shade between the brighter reds and the warm honey reds of the wooden dining room table. Red is the color of passion.
Sarah Clark, class of 2015, designed and directed Time Stands Still with perspective in mind. Sarah provides a modest synopsis of the play in her Director’s Note. “It follows a photojournalist injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, chronicling her year of recovery.”
She goes on to explain that, at its very core, Time Stands Still is about relationships. “How people change, find each other, and grow apart…this play deals with the very human struggle between conflicting careers and relationships, and poses the question of whether love is enough.”
And is love enough? Each scene brings a new shade of red. In the opening act, Sarah Goodwin (Kathleen Capdesuner) carries a bright red camera case on her shoulder. The left side of her face is lined with copper scars. Her arm is in a sling, her leg in a cast. The crutch she uses is symbolic for her dependence on inanimate objects, such as her camera and her job. Her partner of 8 ½ years, writer James Dodd (Casey Casteel) constantly tries to help her through her recovery. Her reactions toward him are subtle and believable – she flinches when he touches her, she raises her voice, adamant that she can do everything on her own.
On their last trip to the Middle East, James witnessed an attack which left him terrified. Though James and Sarah had been planning on being there together, James left, unable to cope with what he had seen. Sometime after he had gone Sarah was injured by a bomb, and though James returned to collect her and bring her home safely, their relationship had already begun to shift and change.
As the audience grows to understand Sarah and James as a couple, we come to understand aspects of long term relationships. The different types of silence are mesmerizing – comfortable silence, tense silence, silence that makes you want to shout. Occasionally they are a team. When their old friend and editor, Richard (Nick Brown) visits and brings his new girlfriend, Mandy (Emily Lamm), they collectively dislike and make fun of her.
But what the audience was truly held captive by were the scenes of confrontation. Sarah and James face each other when shouting, sometimes so close they could touch, but don’t. But there were two type of tension in the air – anger and familiarity, the latter a type of familiar that is comforted by anger because anger shows that someone cares. After those scenes, all you can hear in the dimly lit Fred Stone is the sound of the audience slowly getting their breath back. Sarah and James make love into a wonderful, comfortable, and terrible thing.