Sarah and James have been a couple for about ten years. She is a photojournalist and he’s a foreign correspondent. They cover war, at times putting themselves in great danger to get the story. When a serious accident in Iraq leaves Sarah critically injured they return home so she can recover and to see if they can live a more normal life.
The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre’s production of Time Stands Still is recommended for mature audiences. D. Terry Williams directs the cast in the Parish Theatre April 19 through May 4. Actress Sheena Foster plays Sarah. After her brush with death, Foster says Sarah can’t seem to find happiness at home.
“She struggles with that, I think like a lot of soldiers do when they come home," Foster says. "She struggles with not being at war and not having that adrenaline rushing all the time.”
While researching her role, Foster says she was surprised to find out that some people actually thrive under the pressures of a war situation.
“They get addicted to the rush of being at war and the camaraderie that develops among your friends and allies while they are there," she says. "So, it’s really intense feeling that they want to be there, but they want so badly to get out too. They are trying to survive. For Sarah, she needs that life. That’s what gives her meaning and makes her feel that she’s doing something worthwhile with her life.”
So, even with a badly scarred face and still using a crutch to walk, Sarah plans on returning to the war. James Sanford plays Richard, a longtime friend and colleague of James and Sarah.
“He really cares about them and when he sees that they are going in a direction he doesn’t approve of, he is one of those longtime friends who lets you know exactly what he thinks and what the consequences are going to be. He really doesn’t hold anything back,” Sanford says. “One of the pivots in the play comes when Richard introduces them to the woman that he is dating and she’s kind of the opposite of Sarah and James and comes from a very different place and they don’t take to her right away.”
Time Stands Still was written by Donald Margulies, a playwright actor James Sanford has great respect for, in part because his dialogue is very realistic.
“And, he’s also such a great writer in terms of his use of surprise and irony. Well, the title itself is Time Stands Still and the point of the play is that while you can capture a moment in time in a photo as Sarah does, or in a news feature the way James does, all of us, one way or another, are dragged forward. The clock only goes in one direction and it doesn’t go backwards. As much as we may want time to stand still it never does.”