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Time stands still: A story about life, love, and sacrifice

Alyssa Hohman

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After almost getting killed by a roadside bomb, life as Sarah (Kiah Clements) knew it changed forever. Sarah and James(Chris Burch) are journalistswho often find themselvesin the middle of war zones, genocides and countless otherdangerous locations. Sarah is aphotographer and James a writer. The two have seen all kinds of horrors, but they feel compelled to continue their work until something goes horribly wrong.

The play, a studio production in Simpkins Theater this last weekend, begins with a couple, Sarah and James, returning to their apartment, with loads of bags. Once they come through the door into the apartment the audience can see Sarah has an injured leg with scars all over her face. It is quickly revealed that Sarah was involved in a terrible accident just six weeks earlier, and James appears to be feeling very guilty about the whole thing. The couple are very awkward around each other at the start. They do eventually warm up to each other, but there is significant tension between them throughout the entire show.

James is extremely protective of Sarah and is constantly worrying about her overdoing things and slowing her healing progress. It is clear that Sarah is incredibly independent and her relianceon others is difficult for her to deal with. She is constantly telling James that she can do things on her own, and he doesn’t understand why she won’t let him help. Yet when their friend Richard (Alex Freeman) says heis coming to visit, it is Sarah who is adamantly against it. After James explains that he has put off Richard for as long as possible, he promises that Richard will not stay long.

Richard shows up, but he is not alone. He brings with him his new, very young, girlfriend. After a few awkward pleasantries, the couples sit down and talk. After some tension surrounding a suggested book of Sarah’s photos and James’ commentary, Richard, James and Sarah chat comfortably as old friends and colleagues. Richard’s new girlfriend Mandy (Kira Martin), on the other hand, is left out of the conversation and her attemptsto be included come offas obnoxious, leaving James and Sarah unimpressed.

As soon as Mandy steps out of the room, James and Sarah get on Richard about how young this girlfriend is. The two clearly have issues with the many women who Richard brings around and the girlfriend ribbing is obviously nothing new.

Richard is adamant though that Mandy is different. He goes on and on about how she makes life easy and fun. We find out after Richard and Mandy leave that the two are expecting a baby and planning on getting married.

Richard’s pending nuptials spark James to propose to Sarah. The two have been together for eight years and he explains to Sarah that they are already in a marriage, why not make it official? He reveals to her that this is something he has been thinking about since her accident. Sarah is understandably surprised by the proposal, as it was something the couple decided against many years ago.

Sarah also reveals that she had an affair right before her accident and James explains that he’s known since it happened but that he doesn’t care. Sarah seems to be trying to get out of the engagement as she divulges that she was in love with her lover. The two argue for a while but Sarah reluctantly says yes to James’ proposal.

Leap forward several months to Sarah and James’ wedding. Mandy and Richard are happier than ever, married with a baby on the way. Both couples seem to be meshing better together as well, until Richard and James get into a huge fight causing Richard and Mandy to leave abruptly. Before they go Mandy makes a comment about how James and Sarah cannot see the joy in life and if you cannot see the joy, then what’s the point in living?

Sarah decides to get back into work but has a rough first day that leads to a flashback. She and James discuss it at length, but it only leads to an uncomfortable argument. James tells her that he is enjoying the quiet life that they’ve been leading and doesn’t want to go back to war zones. He wants to live the American dream with a home and kids: a nice quiet, comfortable life. Sarah at this point tells James that she doesn’t want to live that life. James also uncovers that Sarah married him out of pity and the two call it quits. The play closes with Sarah about to go out on a mission; Mandy and Richard living happily with their baby, and James in a new relationship, about to move in with the woman and her son.

The play invites the audience to reconsider their own lives, to reevaluate what is important and worth keeping. The actors and actresses did an excellent job conveying their characters’ underlying struggles. The audience was able to feel what they were going through and it made the experience that much greater.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Time stands still: A story about life, love, and sacrifice