Time Stands Still: A Theatrical Journey

by Marinka on October 7, 2010

Earlier this week Papa and I went to the theater together. The lovely people at Arts Meets Commerce offered me tickets to see my skin-double Laura Linney in Time Stands Still at the Cort Theatre in exchange for my writing about the play, good or bad. I invited Papa to come as my guest and he graciously accepted.

“We can write a joint review,” I told him.
He would have none of it.
“You write yours and I’ll write my own,” he told me, reminding me that he has many fans on this blog.

So that’s what we did.

Time Stands Still by Marinka

I don’t go to the theater a lot. It’s expensive, it starts too late and if you wander in wearing your pajamas while clutching a glass of chardonnay you get tons of attitude. But when I do go I get a little electrified. Nervous before the performance starts because I can’t imagine that the actors aren’t terrified, and I sort of wait for someone to flub a line. It’s really difficult to get into the theatrical moment in the midst of so much apprehension.

But I did.

Laura Linney is Sarah, a war photographer who is returning to her Brooklyn home after sustaining terrible injuries in a bombing in Iraq and recuperating for six weeks in a German hospital (with what I can only assume was a quick stopover on 5th Avenue for a Bergdorf blonde treatment. How else could someone who’d spend the previous months in a war zone be so unbelievably and perfectly blonde? And yet, I suspect that this is not the direction that the play is taking.)

She comes back, but she is devastated by the events she witnessed. In some ways, her home life is further away from her than the war zone that she left behind. And she doesn’t fall into any of the stereotypes that you would expect. She is strong and bitchy and infuriating and keening and translucent. She is multi-dimensional in the best theatrical sense.

I even forgave her the unrealistic highlights.

The questions raised– do you put yourself in a war zone or stay within the relative safety and comforts of home and how much can we really change the way things are in the world–stayed with me.

As you’ll soon read, papa was not enthralled by the play, and during the intermission he wondered out loud (with the emphasis being on the loud and in English) why people continue to write plays, when Shakespeare and Wilde had already written such masterpieces.

My answer is that we need, particularly in times of turmoil, art to reflect and to make sense of the chaos for us. Some art (otherwise known as The A-List) distracts, while other, like Time Stands Still, transforms, even if temporarily. I loved the play because I didn’t think that it had a false line, and very many clever ones.

I enjoyed it and feel brainier for having seen it. So go! Check out the special offer and go! And then tell me what you thought about it.

But that’s just my take on it. Let’s see what Papa had to say!

WARNING! Papa’s review contains important spoilers! Read at your own risk!

A Challenge to Our Pharmaceutical Industry: Time Stands Still by Papa

In our post-Viagra time, there is a need for relationship-ending medications with the names like Partiva, Departa or TuttaFinita and TodoTerminada for the Italian and Spanish markets.

The demand is clearly there. We successfully manage most of our ills and only parting with the people who we love or are attracted to remains lengthy, painful and uncomfortable.

And Time Stands Still is exactly about parting ways of the couple that had been together for about 8 years. The whole play is presented on the background of large amount of human suffering in the places like Iraq, North Africa and few other places where people burn and cannibalize each others.

Our heroes are there by their own choice, because this is the best way to present yourself as somebody who you are not. He is a war correspondent and she is war photographer.

She recovers from the road side bomb injury that left her feminine attractiveness totally intact and he recovers from her infidelity with her now dead Iraqi beau.

Does it sound like slapstick? Yes, it does, because it is.

There is not much more to that except for one more couple a September/May scenario where the woman is not very mature and the man can’t take hands off her flesh.

The whole thing is not really very moving, because love and suffering while parting were presented by various dramaturges much better in as early as XVIII-XIX centuries.

The background of Iraq war may sell it to some group of socially aware people who know for sure which war is good and proper and which is not justified and cruel at the same time.

The Court Theater is a great place, small and built when the City itself was small and the middle class people did not know yet that they are the middle class.

In conclusion: The parting pill should be marketed as a twin pack, pink for her and blue for him.

Hi, it’s me, Marinka again! Do you think Papa and I will be sought out joint reviewers? Is this the beginning of a new career? OMG, what if they want Papa only reviews? How will I cope with my jealous rage?!

One year ago ...

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October 7, 2010 at 10:21 am

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Lady AshEfield October 7, 2010 at 4:24 am

wow!!– you got this to press early- sorry i didn’t get you a quip from my take on this evenings performance. the hamster that spins my rusty wheel isn’t so fast.

on the surface i enjoyed the play- it was well acted- great stage design-and many quick, sharp lines that often drew laughs. however- the story had some weak links and deflated by journeys end- basically a dull cliché– and what’s with that mod Laura Linney pose at the end when the
lights go down? i almost broke into laughter- absolutely ridiculous! Laura- if you’re reading this- STOP THAT!

in the end- i fall somewhere between you and papa- will this play be worthy in 100- or even 10 years time- no – but certainly better than an evening with the “Ass-list”

i think you and papa should do a weekly recap of the “Ass-list”– that would be highly entertaining!

i leave you with this:

The Theatuh, the Theatuh – what book of rules says the Theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the Theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band – all Theater. Wherever there’s magic and make-believe and an audience – there’s Theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and The Lone Ranger, Sarah Bernhardt, Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex and Wild, and Eleanora Duse. You don’t understand them all, you don’t like them all, why should you? The Theater’s for everybody – you included, but not exclusively – so don’t approve or disapprove. It may not be your Theater, but it’s Theater of somebody, somewhere.

signed- Lady AshEfield


October 7, 2010 at 6:02 am

Please do us all a favor and help Papa create his own blog. LOL!


October 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

Oh, man, OH MAN.

He just tells it like it is.

So many golden phrases in there, “the woman is not very mature and the man can’t keep his hands off her flesh.”

That just summed up the past 50 years in Hollywood.

Yeah, those are the kinds of reviews I’d love to read. There has to be a market for this cut through the BS style.

I loved it.

More, as always, papa has me saying, “more.”


annie October 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I love you Marinka but I think I have not very mature crush on Papa. I’m with Alexandra, I want more “cut the crap” type of reviews!


Lady AshEfield October 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm

hey Papa!
i have to tell you- after reading your genius review, i certainly thought about the play in a more critical light– but to be honest- i didn’t pay full boat for my seats, (TDF people!! TDF!… or Theater Mania)– and that certainly makes a difference.

i would recommend this show- sure it ain’t a classic– but it is funny, and well well acted- and to be sure- there are FAR worse productions running now- so i give it a pass.

what i want to know from you papa– how will the”parting pill” be marketed to the geighs??- we’re a large market, not to be ignored.

signed- Lady AshEfield


reiven October 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

rainbow colored pills?


Marinka October 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Papa from Marinka’s computer:

The answer is so simple”The color purple”


trudyj October 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

OMG I laughed out loud – several times – and I am at work. I do so enjoy Awesome Dudes remarks. I enjoyed your review also. If I lived in NY, I would go see it.


Heather, Queen of Shake Shake October 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Marinka, how will you cope with your jealous rage when Papa adopts me as a daughter?

OMG, Papa, PLEASE adopt me. PLEASE! I will pay you. (In cockleshells.) Like, my father has never even taken me to a play, much less reviewed one with me, that is how deprived of a proper father figure I am. PLEASE.


Phoenix Rising
October 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm

If Papa can’t have his own blog, can you at least feature him in a video interview? We blogshippers can send you questions and he can answer them. PLEASE???!!!!


October 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm


Don’t you think Awesome Dude should have a proper avatar, a matching one at that? Take a pic of the back of Papa’s head. It would be priceless.


dusty earth mother October 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm

You two are the next Siskel and Ebert. The Russian version.


October 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Bergdorf blonde, snort!

Hopefully the joint review thing takes off.


By Word of Mouth
October 8, 2010 at 8:27 am

You know he got everyone on the ‘flesh’ comment – lol
Call Ebert, he never did fill Siskel’s shoes – you two could fight it out for the spot in the limelight!
btw, Just read your comment at ScaryMommy, love it and here I was trying to make lighter over there and you nailed it in a line. ( I am not worthy)



October 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm

My review of Papa’s review:

Succinct, starts nicely and states the realities of the play while casting an unflinching eye at war, peace, and a free night at the theatre. This reviewer has a promising future in the second half of Marinka’s blog posts.


Ann's Rants
October 8, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Inexplicably, I am now picturing Marinka as Yentl singing “Papa can you hear me”


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