By Harry Haun
08 Oct 2010
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
There's nothing that brings a Broadway cast back for bear better than those six-month coffee breaks. Three-fourths of the Manhattan Theatre Club spring cast of Time Stands Still cast have not been marking time in the interim — they have been marinating — and they collectively served up one piping hot show Oct. 7 at its new commercial Main Stem location, the Cort.
Christina Ricci is the odd woman in — the new-girl-in-town seasoning — the "lightweight" among the welterweight war journalists on display in Donald Margulies' gripping drama: Laura Linney, a frontline photographer put out of commission by a roadside bomb; Brian d'Arcy James, her lover of nine years and the words to her pictures; and Eric Bogosian, their publisher who enjoys jumping a generation back for girlfriends (Ricci, for the present).
Ricci said she didn't have to think twice when director Dan Sullivan pitched her the part. "I was so excited to get to work with such amazing and talented people. Also, this is the kind of part that's very different from stuff that I've done before, and I thought that it would be great to get a chance to play someone like this."
Of course, the stage is totally new turf for her, although you'd not suspect it from the easy way she glided through her Broadway debut. "At first, it took a little adjusting to. I had a lot of help from my fellow cast members. I listened. I took in everything they told me to do, all the advice, and I tried to learn and to grow as fast as possible."
Maybe it's the lack of blondeness, but Ricci's version of the character seems to be made of sterner stuff and her slow-to-show spine comes less as a shock. "I always took the approach that she was just a girl from a different environment, raised in sort of a sheltered way," Ricci said. "She was really interested in everything they did and interested in the arts, but just didn't have the kind of education they had. Also, she's of a different generation. She's not dumb. She's just trying way too hard, and she's putting her foot in her mouth. And she's coming from such a different world, a world where you do comfort someone by saying, 'Listen, we can have plastic surgery to take care of that. Relax. It's fine.' For her, that's a totally normal thing to say."
Another new dimension that surfaces in this current resurrection is that Time Stands Still seems to have become the love story that Margulies intended and less about the densely packed baggage that the two leads lug around — the questions and politics and emotional toll that goes with documenting contemporary war zones.
Linney and James tangle intensely and compassionately in their interplay, edging closer to the heart than they did before. Stakes seem to have been raised.
As Linney views the new emotionalism, "It's just wonderful to be intimate with a piece of work and then put it to bed for a while and let it hibernate and then you get to wake it back up and discover even more things about it that you didn't know."
One thing that hasn't changed is the war scars. "They're transferred tattoos, so they take a while to get on and a little longer to get off." Linney, it has to be said, wears them elegantly.Continued...