Photos courtesy of Catia Ramos.
The student-directed production, “Time Stands Still,” will open in J-Studio of the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center on Nov. 2.
“Time Stands Still” by Donald Margulies tells the story of a photo journalist named Sarah. In the play, Sarah returned home to the United States from Iraq with her boyfriend James, a reporter, after being injured in a roadside bombing. After returning home, they are visited by their friend Richard and his new, much younger girlfriend Mandy. The play follows their relationships and adjustment to life outside of the war after the trauma Sarah and James faced while in Iraq.
Senior theater student, Meg Hamblen, was chosen to direct the play last year and spent the summer choosing and planning the production.
“This show has really been a culmination of many different aspects of theater coming together,” Hamblen said. “I have been working towards this show since last year when the student-lead production was assigned to me. I spent the whole summer looking for different plays, and ‘Time Stands Still’ really stuck with me.”
Hamblen said she chose the play because it sends a message that she thinks is something that all students should know: the importance of taking action to help others.
“[The play] really speaks to what is our role as observers of what is going on in our world and what we can do to change it,” Hamblen said. “The play really explores what our role as Americans is and what we can do to help people around the world.”
She also said that the play communicates the importance of support for women, as the characters Sarah and Mandy, while very different, are both portrayed as very strong women despite their circumstances.
“I really wanted to focus on something that had a strong female voice to it,” Hamblen said. “Even though the playwright is a man, he has really created two powerful female characters through Sarah and Mandy. You really see two very different views on the world through them, which I thought was very interesting. Sarah is very work-oriented, whereas Mandy has a maternal side to her.”
One of the goals Hamblen said she set for herself while planning for her production was to illustrate the acceptance of women regardless of their way of living and life choices.
“I feel like it is important that women, no matter their paths in life, are still validated,” Hamblen said.
Senior theater student, Valerie Ferris, who plays Sarah said that her experience with rehearsing and preparing for “Time Stands Still” has taught her a lot and inspired her.
“This show has already taught me so much not only as an actor but as a person,” Ferris said. “Sarah is so independent, headstrong and driven, and that’s something that I admire of her. This entire process has just been a great one and I couldn’t have asked to be a part of a better team.”
Matthew Oxley, a sophomore theater student who plays James said his experience working with Hamblen has allowed him to learn a lot and have a fun time portraying his character.
“This show has been an amazing learning experience,” Oxley said. “Meg Hamblen is an excellent director and ensures that we leave with a smile on our faces even though the show gets very dark and emotionally heavy at times.”
Oxley explained that working with such a small cast really helped to make the play more personal and emotional.
“The small cast makes the show super intimate and a very relaxed environment to work in,” Oxley said. “Donald Margulies is a brilliant writer who writes complex characters, and James’s character has been a blast to work on.”
Additional performances will be on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 in the J Studio of the Fine Arts Center. Admission to “Time Stands Still” is free.