Ms. Linney, an actress of unusual economy and seemingly innate grace, does not shy from depicting the thorny aspects of Sarah’s personality: her impatience with views opposing her own, the leftover anger from witnessing her parents’ unhappy marriage, the emotional reserve and the sense of detachment bred in her by her work. But she also reveals the reserves of tender feeling beneath the ample defenses. We sense Sarah’s growing fear that her need to live life on her own terms cannot be reconciled with the path James sees for their future. Ms. Linney’s tough but gently shaded performance honors the character’s seeming contradictions.
Sarah and James have spent much of their lives bearing witness to horrific violence, but Mr. Margulies’s quietly powerful drama illustrates just how much pain and trauma are involved in the everyday business of two people creating a life together, one that accommodates the mistakes of the past, the reality of the present and the changes that the future may bring.
TIME STANDS STILL
By Donald Margulies; directed by Daniel Sullivan; sets by John Lee Beatty; costumes by Rita Ryack; lighting by Peter Kaczorowski; sound by Darron L West; music by Peter Golub; fight director, Thomas Schall. Presented by the Manhattan Theater Club, Lynne Meadow, artistic director; Barry Grove, executive producer; by special arrangement with Nelle Nugent/Wendy Federman. At the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street, Manhattan; (212) 239-6200. Through March 14. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes.