Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Juliette Binoche

Time Stands Still – Is She Bearing Witness or an Adrenaline Junkie?


Sarah (Nancy Nagrant), an internationally known photographer, arrives home leg in a cast, arm in a sling, with face badly scratched, having been caught by a roadside bomb on assignment in Iraq. (Nagrant moves in credible sync with painful infirmity.) She’s been “collected” by longtime partner, James (John Long), a freelance journalist who had left for the states earlier in the throes of shellshock. “The eagle has landed.”

Ross DeGraw, Assol Abdullina, Nancy Nagrant

Concerned friend/editor Richard (Ross DeGraw) comes to visit. Instead of an intimate reunion, however, Sarah and James are additionally faced with Richard’s new, much younger, sweet, but decidedly simple girlfriend, Mandy (Assol Abdullina).  An events planner, the girl has brought helium balloons that say “Get Well” and “Welcome Home.” “I’m into events too,” quips Sarah, “wars, famine, genocide.” You can almost hear an audible “ouch.”

Two of Sarah’s three cameras survived the explosion. Photos are harrowing. Richard suggests a book. James can write the text for Sarah’s chronicle – but can he do it without being affected by her secret? Looking over shoulders, Mandy is aghast. “Why didn’t you help them instead of taking a picture?! Sarah protests she was helping. “…otherwise who would know, who would care…?”

Nancy Nagrant, John Long, Ross DeGraw, Assol Abdullina

During the exchange, it’s clear the photographer can’t wait to get back where the action is. James is appalled. After eight and a half years, he was hoping her lengthy coma would bring Sarah to her senses; that they would finally stay put, marry, and have a family. She agrees to the ceremony, but…

This insightfully written, articulate play pits bearing witness against trying to actively help. Sarah could’ve volunteered for the Red Cross, but that’s not where her talent lies. Doesn’t someone have to bring atrocity to public attention? What about motivation? Is Sarah sacrificing her safety in order to remind people of moral imperative or is danger like a drug she’d have to secure elsewhere were she not a war correspondent? Like many in the situation, she feels most alive when challenging death.

Nancy Nagrant

The company is all very good. Each actor creates distinctive bearing, movement, and speech. Both couples silently communicate.

Director Jerry Heymann has a keen eye for subtle moments and nuanced timing. He invisibly brackets tension and sarcasm, utilizes watchfulness as often as gesture and approaches the piece without judgment. Small signals reveal – ie., when one of two bicycles leans against the wall instead of hanging.

Brian Dudkiewicz’s Apartment Set is appealingly personalized.

The only thing wrong with visuals is that, as manifest, Mandy’s swaddled baby is too small to be anything but a hospital preemie. (Props-Stephanie Gonzalez)

Like minded drama: David Hare’s 1978 play Plenty (opening in New York – 1982) centers on Susan Traherne, a former special agent in Nazi-occupied France who finds it impossible to adjust to boring, morally bankrupt, civilian life.

2013’s film 1000 Times Good Night stars Juliette Binoche as a highly lauded photographer felled by a Middle Eastern bomb, returning to a husband (and family) who will no longer endure her life being risked.

Time Stands Still premiered in February 2009 in Los Angeles. The 2010 Broadway production was nominated for three Tony Awards.

Photos by Hunter Canning
Opening: Nancy Nagrant and John Long

New Light Theater Project presents
Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies
Directed by Jerry Heymann
13th Street Repertory Company  
50 West 13th Street
Through February 24, 2018

Listen to Alix Cohen talk about reviewing theater on WAT-CAST.

Five Films About Chocolate


Thursday July 7th is Chocolate Day!  In honor of such a tantalizing holiday consider watching one of the following tributes to one of life’s most decadent pleasures; the flower of the cocoa bean.  Warning-watching these may bring on sudden cravings.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) This musical fantasy directed by Mel Stuart (Four Days in November, One is a Lonely Number) with a legendary performance by dreamy eyed Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka about how Charlie Bucket receives a Golden Ticket to tour Wonka’s Chocolate Factory along with four other children is one of the most beloved children’s films of all time especially for the iconic scene when the children reach the main room of Wonka’s factory with the edible forest and chocolate water fountain. Adapted from the Roald Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory there’s also the 2005 film version as well directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka.

Consuming Passions (1988) This black comedy based on the 1973 radio play Secrets, tells the tale of a chocolate factory preparing to launch a new product. Unfortunately a worker falls into the vat during production and the horrified owners fail to recall the chocolates.  When the newest chocolates become a surprise hit, the factory owners realize they have inadvertently stumbled on a new key secret ingredient for candy production. Starring Sammi Davis, Vanesssa Redgrave, and Johnathon Pryce.

Like Water for Chocolate (1992) Adapted from the novel and directed by Alfonso Arauby the same name by Laura Esquivel. As the youngest daughter Tita De La Garza (Lumi Cavazos) is forbidden to marry and instead charged with caring for her mother until the day she dies.  Pedro (Marco Leonardi) is in love with Tita but marries her sister Rosaura (Yareli Arizmendi) instead to be close to her.  Tita a chef, begins to sublimate her passions into her work and thus we get some of the sexiest cooking scenes ever recorded on camera.   It earned all eleven Ariel awards from the Mexico Academy of Motion Pictures including Best Picture and became the highest grossing Spanish language film ever released in the U.S. at the time.

Chocolat (2000) This film adaption of the Joanne Harris novel of the same name stars Juliette Binoche as Vianne Rocher a expert chocolatier who travels to a sleepy French town in 1959 with her daughter Anouk to open a chocolate shop at the beginning of Lent-much to the displeasure of the town mayor the Comte de Reynaud (Al Molina).  The all-star cast also includes, Johnny Depp, Carrie Anne Moss, Judi Dench, Lena Olin and Peter Stormare, it was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.

The Dark Side of Chocolate (2010)  In this 46 minute long documentary available online, journalists Miki Mistrati (The Massive Killer) and Robin Romano (Stolen Childhoods)investigate how the worldwide chocolate industry is fueled by child trafficking in the Ivory Coast.

Photo from Bigstock.