miércoles, octubre 20, 2010

Time stands still: the endless drama of war


War is a drama within itself. Every work of art that aspires to portray this prominent attribute of human condition must touch and embrace sensitive issues inherent to it -loss, hurt, suffering. So when you go to see a play that promises to embark on such a challenging endeavor, and you get out of the theater genuinely touched by experiencing a tour de force onstage, that work of art has succeeded indeed. That been said, Time stands still is a successful dramatic play.

Time stands still, written by Donald Margulies and directed by Daniel Sullivan, tells the story of Sarah (Laura Linney), a war photographer who gets seriously hurt while covering an armed conflict in Afghanistan. Sarah comes back to New York to recover from those injuries with the aide of Jamie (Brian D'Arcy James), her longtime boyfriend. The play focuses then on those critical days -the postwar days.

This production not only concentrates on war as a general topic; it also presents it to us as a personal subject. Each one of the characters faces his own wars. Sarah's is perhaps the most explicit case -she has to deal directly with the consequences of being so close to the war. Jamie, for instance, has to fight with his doubts on his current relationship with Sarah and his discontent of living an unfulfilled life. Richard (Eric Bogosian), Sarah’s friend and boss, faces his own conflict against aging, somewhat materialized by the relationship he maintains with Mandy (Christina Ricci) -a woman much younger than him. And finally, Mandy has to struggle with her new group of friends, one that, according to her, chooses to only look at the darkest side of life.

Mandy is a crucial character in the play. She embodies a fresh point of view. Her shallowness not only brings the funniest moments to the stage -it also offers a different perspective, perhaps due to her youth. Mandy's role is quite significant in dramas as deep as this. Without her part, the play might end up becoming a load too heavy to carry for the theatergoers throughout its almost two hours. Her bright standpoint delivers an enjoyable and necessary amount of fun to the production.

One of the most outstanding features of the play is definitely its cast. Everyone delivers an astonishing performance. Laura Linney undoubtedly offers the strongest -and most applauded- one. Christina Ricci, on her Broadway debut, managed to impress us all by offering a hilarious performance. Eric Bogosian gives also a terrific act. Brian D'Arcy James is also a good addition, perhaps a little bit eclipsed by the dazzling participation of the rest.

The first act of the play is, in my opinion, the best accomplished. It involves the war's most severe damage on Sarah -her emotional injuries. Another type of battle soon surfaces between Jamie and Sarah because of that psychological fragility. During this part of the play, Sarah confesses she was unfaithful to Jamie while she was in Afghanistan -her lover was killed by the same bomb that caused her those terrible wounds. Consequently, this not only accentuates Jamie's insecurities about his relationship with her, but it also emphasizes his worries about where his own life might be heading. He loves Sarah and ends up by forgiving her, but the war doesn't quite end yet.

This is the definite dramatic peak of the play, and it comes at the end of the first act. The climax manages to last longer than you would have normally expected, and it extends just enough to grab the attention of an audience that loses itself to the most endearing passage of the production. This is the best moment in the play.

In contrast, the second act is the most positive one, but it is also the weakest. The play loses that remarkable tension it brought at the end of the first one, and the performances fall short not because of the actors, but because of the plot itself. In the second half of the play Sarah and Jamie get married and Mandy gets pregnant. Everything seems to be working out well for everyone but that, once again, doesn’t mean the conflict is over -at least for Sarah.

Sarah got married to Jamie under the promise that she would try to make significant changes in her life –live her days at a slower pace, have a child. But she fails at it. On the other hand, Jamie moves on with his life, first by breaking up with her and then by dating another woman. In parallel, Mandy and Eric live happily as a couple enjoying the company of a new comer –their new baby.

For Sarah, though, it seemed as if life didn't go on. She totally recovered physically at the end of the play but her mindset, as a picture, remained unaltered, static, inert.

Her life, as a picture, stood still.

1 comentario:

Kraxpelax dijo...

The Moon
shines
on a cat

Meow

As a native Swede, I am particularly proud of my love poetry suite Sonnets for Katie.

My Poems

My wallpaper art Babes!

Sexuality introduces Death to Being; and indeed Life simultaneously. This is the profound Myth of the Eden. The work of the Serpent. Bringing us out of "blessed" Standstill. So, in contrast to the mindless pietism of vulgar Christianity, my personal "Christo-Satanism" should be given serious thought by the Enlightened Few, the Pneumatics, the 1% Outlaws. The Light Bringer must be rehabilitated, beacause if not, the All of it simply doesn't make sense: true Catholicism is necessarily Meta Catholicism.

My philosophy

Arthur Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Saint-John Perse, René Char, Henri Michaux, Roger Kowalski, Peter Ingestad...

LE FRUIT DU CIEL

Un orage nocturne illmuna maintenant l'Amazonie, franchis les Andes, envoya des jeux de cartes gigantesques et frappantes en bas à la Pampa –

Puis: petit déjeuner à melon; café fumant!

À la bague du cigare tu lis, étonné: GÉOGRAPHIE.

My prosepoetry in French:

Poétudes

Schwarzes Birne!
Aufforderung zur Erotik.

My poetry in German:

Fremde Gedichte


Casualidad sopla la sangre
de alguno señor desconocido
durante los pocos restantes
momentos del resplandor de faroles

que se vislumbran tras el follaje
flameando de las obsesiónes
igual efimero como gotas
del cinzano de la soledad –

En aquel tiempo me levanta
dentro uno incidente avejentado
que en seguida palidece
al camouflaje de abstraccion;

chica, nadie conoce que tus grisos
ojos significan aún; con todo
el sueño que hube evacuado
tu escudriñas nuevamente.

Mi poesía aproximadamente española

And: reciprocity: for mutual benefit, you will do me a favor promoting your own blog on mine!

The best way to do it is lining up as a Follower, since then your icon will advertise you indefinitely, and I will follow you in return. Let's forge a mighty alliance of synergy and common interest.

Yours,

- Peter Ingestad, Sweden