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“Time Stands Still” awakes the timely realism of life after war   

    By Evie Lindblom - Reporter. November 29, 2018 - 9:00 am

Mandy (Cierra Wall), Sarah (Therese Olival), Richard (Eli Kent Mills Foster) and James (Rob Duval) in the second act of Time Stands Still.
Photo by Evie Lindblom.

Hawaii Pacific University’s (HPU) rendition of Time Stands Still, by playwright Donald Margulies, encapsulated the audience for the sold out closing show at Paul and Vi Loo Theatre Sunday evening.

An audience filled with community members, faculty and students watched as the transformed stage at HPU’s Paul and Vi Loo Theatre came alive, mimicking a classical one bedroom Brooklyn apartment.

The play was directed by Alex Munro, also a professor in the theatre department at the University, and the set illustrated his vision when bringing Margulies play to life. Munro shared his intention behind the intimate set with a balanced mixture of plush furniture, warm lighting and a minimalistic but modern kitchen. “I wanted the audience to feel like they were sitting in their living room. We wanted to pull out anything that was theatrical and make sure it felt very natural and organic.”

Director Alex Munro presenting Times Stands Still to a sold out audience on Sunday at the Paul and Loo Theatre. Photo by Evie Lindblom.

Time Stands Still peers into life of war photographer Sarah Goodwin, played by Therese Olival, after surviving a car bombing during her work as a war journalist in Iraq. The play dives into candid, compelling and raw exchanges between the four characters whose relationships are explored throughout the play with an embodiment of the misery and suffering that war scars people with.

All of the action takes place in Sarah’s apartment as she is accompanied by her boyfriend, James Dodd, played by Rob Duval, after waking up from a coma with severe war injuries. They receive a visit from their friend Richard Ehrlich, played by Eli Kent Mills Foster, and he is accompanied by his new markedly young girlfriend Mandy Bloom, played by HPU Sophomore Cierra Wall majoring in multimedia cinematic production. The tension and conflict begins to unfold through Mandy’s unfiltered opinions on the fault lines she deems evident in Sarah and James’ relationship and in their line of work.

Time Stands Still marked Wall’s first time performing on stage and she explained her initial fear of public speaking that, to her surprise, changed drastically as she took the stage as Mandy Bloom. “I have never liked talking in front of crowds, even though I have been a cheerleader for the most part of my life. This was something I was hesitant about, but now it is something I have learned to conquer.”

Sarah (Therese Olival), Richard (Eli Kent Mills Foster), Mandy (Cierra Wall) and James (Rob Duval) during the opening scene. Photo provided by Evie Lindblom.

“I have gotten more confident in myself and stopped second guessing what I am doing,” she added.

The cast, made up of three experienced actors from the community and Wall alongside the dedicated backstage cast representing HPU, brought the play to life with intriguing character dynamics, realistic delivery and enhancing comedic beats between the heartfelt but discomforting descriptions of implanted war hardships.

Wall shared her thoughts on why students, with an interest in theatre, should look to get involved in the theatre program. “The HPU theatre program is a huge segway into theatre programs in the community. The community actors involved in this play are involved in the broader theatre community on the island. It is a great way to meet people from the industry and if you want to do acting on TV for example, this is a great way to start.”

Munro expressed his hopes for more students auditioning for upcoming plays held by HPU and explained, “We want to give you these opportunities to grow as an actor. Even if you have never been on stage before, it doesn’t mean you cannot come out and audition for the show. Cierra is a perfect example of that. We are here to support you and help you grow as an actor.”

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