“Sometimes when people think of a staged reading they don’t know what to expect,” actor Chris Doyle says. But what you can expect from his latest venture is a thought-provoking drama.
He’s one of four local actors in a workshop production of the Tony-nominated play “Time Stands Still,” by Donald Margulies, which opens in the Paramount Theatre’s Brick Box beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17. It’s being presented by Stage Write, a new Rutland community theater organization dedicated to quality staged readings.
Doyle said, “They can sound dry and overly intellectual. And while it is an intelligent, thoughtful way of going into the themes discussed, it is drama. It’s thought provoking on a visceral level, as the best theater is. For that reason, I think people are going to just simply enjoy it.”
The story takes place in the New York City apartment of Sarah, a photojournalist who has returned from covering the Iraq war injured, and her boyfriend, James, a reporter, who is wracked with guilt after leaving her alone in Iraq.
“It’s about relationships,” said Diane Liccardi, “Time Stands Still” producer and founder of Stage Write. “It’s about obsession, about why people do what they do, and how they justify what they do, or don’t do. It’s a passionate, really smart play.”
Directed by Mark Dalton, the cast of four includes faces familiar to local theater, including Doyle as James, Maya Redington as Mandy and Bonnie Pritchard as Sarah.
“This play deals with the daily realities of life after a crisis, how it changes us and our relationships,” Pritchard said. “As an actress I try to find parallel emotions that help me to connect to the person I am trying to bring to life. I then let all that ‘thinking’ go and work on the interactions my character has.”
“It has been the most character work I’ve gotten to do in a very long time, and I personally love that,” Redington said. “The director has such a vision and cares so deeply about this piece and it shows.”
“I’d love to say I studied Stanislavski and spend three hours in a yoga pose every night,” Doyle said about getting into character. “But in reality, for me it all starts with the words on the page, and frankly, the less I know about it the better.”
This show will be slightly different from the Stage Write productions presented earlier this year, in that it will have some physical movement.
“You won’t see as much as you would if everybody was off-book,” Doyle said. “But it will be different from other things Stage Write has done so far. This is going to be something of a hybrid.”
The New York Times praised the play as “handily Mr. Margulies’s finest play since the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Dinner With Friends.’ The new play explores the relationship between two couples at a crucial juncture in their lives, when the desire to move forward clashes with the instinct to stay comfortably — or even uncomfortably — in place.”
“Different bits and pieces will affect and hit different individuals in a plethora of ways,” Redington said. “It covers so many topics and emotions, I think it will really hit home.”