Saturday, September 8, 2018


Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Donald Margulies's play, Time Stands Still directed by Joel Zwick, is a family affair. Featuring Jamie Zwick, Joel's son and produced by Jamie's intended, Sami Kolko, it fills the tiny Lounge Theatre on Santa Monica with what becomes simply very good work.  

Presenter/Photographer: Sami Kolko.
The short-haired brunette is Nicole Pacent.
The long-haired blonde is Kelly Fischer.
The dark-haired man is Jamie Zwick.
The silver-haired man is Paul Urcioli.

Director Joel Zwick has a long history of well known productions and his bringing Margulies's play to the stage based on an acting exercise in an acting class to a full production is a labor of love. Love here embraces four specific characters in search of happiness and fulfillment. We open on the return from documenting the war in Iraq by James (Jamie Zwick) and Sarah (Nicole Pacent).. James, a writer and Sarah a photographer who have been 'together' for more than eight years engaged in recording the horrors of war.  Badly wounded, Sarah and her guide/interpreter have met with an IED, killing him; leaving her seriously injured. James is in basically good shape physically, but the troubles of war visit him more subtly.  Alcohol is a bit of an escape.  PTSD is subtext to their relationship. 

Enter long time friend Richard (Paul Urcioli) and his totally age inappropriate and stereotypically blonde, warm hearted, somewhat air headed fiance Mandy (Kelly Fisher).   Richard is the former love of Sarah.  Mandy points up that it is "so nice" that fifteen years later Sarah and Richard remain friends.  The dynamics of young love, middle age love, love of one another and the love of life ring brilliantly as the two couples traverse episodes when, for the audience, "Time Stands Still." We see how love evolves.  For Richard and Mandy:  a new baby, for James and Sarah, marriage after years as a couple 'living in sin.' But time moves along as we hear Dooley Wilson sing 'As time goes by..'

Sarah's call of "the mission" eventually emerges, showing that the people we are, sometimes living our lives holding hands, may eventually send us our separate ways.  

Marguiles's characters, each with an individual agenda, evolve with strong performances, perhaps the most obvious arc in cute blonde, Mandy, as she devotes herself entirely to her 'older' love, Richard. Her sense of right and wrong butts up against Sarah's resolve to capture the hard truths as photographer: an observer... while Mandy's sincere love of humanity cannot comprehend how one can 'stand by' and not be helpful in the dire time of war. The theme of "Time Stands Still" reflects Sarah's need to be where she can capture a moment in time that she sees with her camera. She hopes that her photos may make a difference to the world at large.  How one can document the horror of war and not be affected is impossible as we learn through the argument of the play. 

Zwick's direction is flawless. Working with strong and capable actors who understand that the process is a gift that  director and actors exchange is in every nuance of the play.

This show deserves an audience.  Arrive early to figure out parking! 
TIME STANDS STILL by Donald Margulies
Directed by Joel Zwick
Produced by Sami Kolko 
The Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monia Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028

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