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'Time Stand Stills' shines with great acting

Time Stands Still

Time Stands Still Credit: handout

Time Stands Still

3.5 stars

Don’t attend “Time Stands Still” expecting an action-packed plot. Donald Margulies’ play deals instead with dramatic events that have already occurred and their complex emotional aftermath.

But in Dan Sullivan’s incredibly well-acted production, it proves to be thought-provoking and full of sparkling dialogue and great human insight.

The four-character drama observes the strained romantic relationship between James (Brian d’Arcy James), a war reporter, and Sarah (Laura Linney), a photojournalist, after they return from Iraq. After James left, Sarah was badly injured in a roadside bombing, leaving her face badly scarred and James feeling guilty for deserting her.

Now back at their industrial Brooklyn loft, the couple receives awkward visits from their friend Richard (Eric Bogosian), a magazine editor, and Mandy (Christina Ricci), his young and innocent girlfriend, who views life with a gentler approach compared to Sarah’s ferocity.

This is not a play about the Iraq War, though it occasionally debates the role of the media in the war zone. It is made up primarily of conversational dialogue exploring the characters’ complicated emotions.

The acting is absolutely superlative. Laura Linney gives a brave and focused performance marked by complete emotional clarity, while Brian d’Arcy James matches her in sensitivity. Eric Bogosian, who is known mainly as a standup performer, is convincing. And Ricci, making her Broadway debut, adds a lively spark.

If you go: “Time Stands Still,” At the Cort Theatre, open run, 138 W. 48th St., 212-239-6200,

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