Brooklyn couple James (Matt Minto), is a war correspondent and his girlfriend Sarah, (Emily J Stewart) a photo journalist. Sarah has hurt her leg in a roadside bombing, during a particularly difficult assignment in Iraq and sees herself as a ghoul with a camera in the war zone, who’s built a career off people’s suffering; she feels she is nothing but a fraud.
The characters struggle with the effects of a life dedicated to covering areas of conflict, both mentally and physically, the morality of standing by while atrocities are happening around them. Is documenting conflict more important than stepping in and saving a life?
The new Tap Gallery space is their lounge-room, an unconventional but clever use of space, a Brooklyn style loft that seats around 30. This is immersive theatre, with immersive elements, the action happening all around the audience, depending on where they sit. On a lap top the sound person sits in full view, operating the ambient, sometimes eerie music and lighting. Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies poses questions of love, duty, pain, honesty, questions of family versus career and the cost of creating war coverage for mass consumption while weaving complex characters in naturalistic interactions.
Richard (Terry Serio) is Sarah’s magazine editor boss, a Helpman award winning actor and musician who’s experienced in musical theatre. Mandy (Laura Djanegara) rounds out the foursome as his much younger girlfriend.
Time Stands Still is pretentious, self-absorbed and deals with first world problems, a play about the media industry where everyone has a coveted job, including Mandy who is an event planner, and the characters are egotistical and know-it-all. There is a cringe worthy scene where middle aged Richard raves about how great it is to have a youthful girlfriend that will have feminists in the audience see red. Add to this, annoying New York accents.
Until Nov 25. The TAP Gallery, 259 Riley Street, Surry Hills. $25-$35. Tickets & Info: www.eclipseproductions.com.au
Reviewed by Mel Somerville.