Time Stands Still's set is quintessential New York. With his set design, Lyle Baskin has a knack for capturing not only mood but also the city. For A Steady Rain, GableStage's previous production, Baskin brought the noir of Chicago via replica elevated-train scaffolding. Time Stands Still is entirely framed by a large window in Sarah's Manhattan loft, with brownstones standing in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. Jeff Quinn's subtle twilight and sunrise lighting give the backdrop a three-dimensional quality, while the apartment itself has hardwood floors, a simple kitchen, and shelves haphazardly stacked with books.
The production isn't without flaws. The night I attended, many lines were delivered clumsily, with the actors speaking over each other. Another flub occurred when James made a fresh pot of coffee for his guests; Garland held the supposedly piping-hot pot under his hand for a moment before taking it by the handle. But the acting overcame the discrepancies.
Gregg Weiner (left), Deborah Sherman, Steve Garland, and Betsy Graver in GableStage's production of Time Stands Still.
The themes of relationships' complexities and imperfections explored in Time Stands Still are nothing new. But the backdrop of the Iraq War makes for an interesting time capsule — one that raises probing questions while delivering an engaging and sometimes even funny story.