"Time Stands Still"

By: Donald Margulies
Produced by: TheatreWorks
When: August 22 through September 16, 2012
Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street (at Mercy), Mountain View
Tickets: $23-$73; call 650-463-1960 or visit
See a model of the set for "Time Stands Still" on the TheatreWorks Facebook page.
See a photograph of the actual set on the TheatreWorks Facebook page.
Rebecca Dines spoke with Regarding Arts a while back. Read what she had to say about her life.
Read John Orr's review of "Time Stands Still."

Time Stands Still
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
Mark Anderson Phillips as "James Dodd," Rebecca Dines as "Sarah Goodwin," Sarah Moser as "Mandy Bloom" and Rolf Saxon as "Richard Ehrlich," from left, in "Time Stands Still" at TheatreWorks. The play opens in previews on August 22, 2012.
When the camera shutter moves
TheatreWorks prepares its production of "Time Stands Still" by Pulitzer winner Donald Margulies
August 19, 2012

When the lights go up for "Time Stands Still," by Donald Margulies, James and Sarah enter their Brooklyn loft after a long climb up the stairs. Both are winded.

James is carrying the bags, and Sarah is on crutches, and covered in scars.

They are both journalists, and both have been damaged by war.

She is a photographer who was caught in a roadside explosion. He is a writer who missed being physically injured, but who carries a world of hurt on the inside.

The play, first performed in Los Angeles, then on Broadway, has plenty of depth and layers of meaning, as it examines what happens to these two smart, conscientious human beings as they try to move forward in their lives. They are contrasted and compared with another couple, an older man with his much younger lover.

Leslie Martinson
John Orr / Regarding Arts
Director Leslie Martinson nibbles on what might be carrot cake at TheatreWorks on August 9, 2012.

Director Leslie Martinson has been working on it with the huge TheatreWorks machine and a great cast, getting it ready to open on August 22 for previews, August 25 for opening night, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

"It's soul-grabbing," Martinson said during an August 3 phone interview, just a few days into the rehearsal process. "When the stakes are high, when you're listening to them talk, you're wondering what is going to happen. We're going for the dramatic stakes of every moment. "You have different couples, at different stages of their relationships. One, a matched pair, one is May-December. Each has their own set of choices."

Martinson, who is also the casting director at TheatreWorks, has a very promising cast in hand: Rebecca Dines, who has been in several excellent productions at TheatreWorks, including "Distracted" and "The 39 Steps," as Sarah; and Mark Anderson Phillips, another TheatreWorks veteran, including in "The 39 Steps" with Dines, as James.

"It's really about Sarah Goodwin, Rebecca's character," said Martinson. "She is visibly wounded at the beginning of the play. James has also been wounded, but his wounds are not visible.

"How will she recover? The same question for him — Will the two of them make it?"

Martinson is happy about the cast. (And she needs to be — she only has to find a mirror if she wants to yell at the casting director.)

"They are super smart actors," Martinson said. "They put their fingers right on what's going on — whose loyalty is shifting where, the guilt or loyalty at the surface.

"Mark is a genius — he and I worked together on 'Theophilus North.'

"Rolf Saxon is Richard (the December role). He was in 'The Chosen.'

"And Sarah Moser (as the May role, Mandy) is just adorable. I've been trying to get her in a show for a couple of years. She is full of sunlight."

Dines has played a wide ranges of parts, at TheatreWorks and at many other stage companies, and Martinson said "It's very interesting to see her play someone pricklier (Sarah the tough photographer is, indeed, quite prickly).

"Rebecca is a sort of high-style actress — movie stars (as in "Twentieth Century"). This is very interesting."

And, Martinson said, "They're all funny. There are a lot of laughs in this play."

Email John Orr at

Times Stands Still sketches
John Orr / Regarding Arts
Costume designer Anna Oliver's sketches for the character of Sarah in "Time Stands Still," produced by TheatreWorks in August of 2012. Seen on August 9, 2012.

Cue the scars

Sarah Goodwin's injuries are a key factor in the play, so Rebecca Dines, from early on in rehearsals, was limping around in a leg brace, and sticking bits of Post-It notes on her skin to signify scars.

Tanya Finkelstein
TheatreWorks Wardrobe Manager Tanya Finkelstein on August 9, 2012, before trying some temporary tattoos of scars on actress Rebecca Dines.
Tanya Finkelstein, Rebecca Dines
Tanya Finkelstein carefully prepares Rebecca Dines for the wounds of war.
Rebecca Dines, Anna Oliver
Photos by John Orr / Regarding Arts
Up close and personal: Rebecca Dines shows a close-up of the temporary tattoos she will wear as war-scarred Sarah Goodwin in "Time Stands Still." That's costume designer Anna Oliver commenting at left.

That wouldn't do on stage at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, of course, so the TheatreWorks crack design and costume departments swung into action, with wardrobe manager and makeup artist Tanya Finkelstein cranking up her trusty Adobe Photoshop.

"I first figured out her undamaged skin tone color," Finkelstein said. "I then researched shrapnel wounds, and surgery wounds. I then took images to the costume designer, Anna Oliver, to discuss what scar tissue tone she would prefer to see on Rebecca, as the wounds were five to six months old. We chose some tones and then I went back to Photoshop to make adjustments as needed."

Finkelstein said they bought some tattoo transfer paper online.

On August 9, Finkelstein, Oliver, costume director Jill Bowers and Martinson gathered in Bowers' office and started sticking the dozens and dozens of tattoos all over Dines' face, neck, shoulder, arm and leg.

It took a while.

Then they dragged Dines on to a stage.

"And, now that we have seen it under stage lights," Finkelstein said, "we like how it looks and will be purchasing more (of the tattoo transfers). You print on a glossy paper, let it dry. Then you take a second sheet that is thick clear paper and peel two sides apart while placing the sticky clear paper over your glossy images, remove all air bubbles and cut around the images. Then, as you saw, I peeled a clear layer off each scar/tattoo and stuck it to her body. Then we wet the back, the paper slides away and the image sticks to her skin."

And that's not all. Finkelstein and friends then put a makeup over the scars, which she said "allows me to give it a 3-D and fresher look for the top of the show, when she has only been wounded three, four weeks earlier. Then, at intermission, we use alcohol to remove all the makeup leaving just the tattoos for act two."

At TheatreWorks
John Orr / Regarding Arts
After the tedious process of applying the dozens of temporary tattoos, TheatreWorks costume director Jill Bowers, wardrobe manager Tanya Finkelstein and costume designer Anna Oliver, from left. assess the look of the "scars" on actress Rebecca Dines, in Bowers' office on August 9, 2012.