REVIEW: Impressive ‘Time’ at WSU Studio

Review by Robert Delaney, New Monitor

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Sarah (Sydney Machesky) and James (Carl Ghigliazza)Photo: Felix Li

Sarah (Sydney Machesky) and James (Carl Ghigliazza)
Photo: Felix Li

The physical, emotional and ethical aspects of war reporting all figure in Donald Margulies’ 2009 play Time Stands Still, the current production at the Studio Theatre on the Wayne State University campus.

Ph.D.-candidate director Katherine Skoretz, working with some very fi ne undergraduate acting talent, has given us a production of this play that would stand up to any professional yardstick.

Sarah (Sydney Machesky), a photojournalist, and her lover, foreign correspondent James (Carl Ghigliazza) are back in the United States, but bear physical or emotional scars of their recent overseas assignments in combat zones.

Sarah is recovering from serious injuries incurred when a roadside bomb exploded; James is dogged by guilt because he had left her in Iraq to accept another assignment just before the incident.

Sarah’s publisher, Richard (Michael Fisher), visits with his new — and much younger — girlfriend, Mandy (Maria Radu), which provides the natural opportunity for Sarah and James to talk about what has happened and what they are going through.

And although Mandy is not only from another generation, but totally out of the others’ league when it comes to education or awareness of current events, her very innocence of the big issues leads her to raise uncomfortable questions.

We see the two couples’ relationships develop during the course of the play. And not only does this happen in a quite believable way, but these four young actors are so good that we really do believe them. They do such a good job of bringing their characters to life that we not only suspend our disbelief in the usual sense, but reach the point where it is truly as if we were seeing these four people living out their lives before our eyes.

This is not the first time Fisher has impressed me. He is clearly an exceptional young talent — one who really should go far if he makes acting his career. But Machesky and Ghigliazza, both of whom I had only seen before in minor roles, were also able to show us something of the depth of their talent in this play.

And to learn from the program that Radu is a freshman in her first WSU production is simply startling.

Besides being a triumph for Skoretz and her cast, this is also a show of which scenic designer Lois Bendler, costume designer Melissa Hall, lighting designer Amy Schneider and sound designer Michael Hallberg can be justly proud. Alas, however, as is always the case with Studio shows, this production only has a two-week run, which means you only have three remaining opportunities to see it. So what if you’ve made other plans — cancel them and see this show.

“Time Stands Still” continues through April 6, with performances at 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, in the Studio Theatre, downstairs at the Hilberry Theatre at Cass and West Hancock on the WSU campus.


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