Join E-list
Buy tickets

“Crackles with bright wit and intelligence…. the range of feeling it explores is wide and deep.” – NY Times

Critics rave - read on!

Time Stands Still

This event has passed. View current shows or other past events.

Written by Donald Margulies
Directed by Sheri Lee Miller


$9  for junior-high and high-school students (Apr 1 only)
$15  for youth 21 and under
$25  for adults

Please note, this show contains some strong language, and deals with PTSD.


One of the masters of contemporary American theater brings us Sarah, a photojournalist recuperating from a tour in the Middle East, and James, a foreign correspondent seeking a change of venue. Telling tough stories about the world at large collides with the story they have to tell about themselves and their relationship to work and to each other. Now they face tough choices about their future. Can they live a conventional life and still keep a sense of right and wrong, not to mention their sanity?

Title Sponsor: Dr. David Noorthoek


Sarah Goodwin

Laura Lowry*

James Dodd

John Browning

Richard Ehrlich

John Shillington

Mandy Bloom

Ivy Rose Miller


Stage Manager

Ross Tiffany-Brown

Scenic Designer

Jesse Dreikosen

Costume Designer

Amaris Blagborne

Lighting Designer

Wayne Hovey

* Appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors and stage managers in the United States

Amaris Blagborne (Costume Designer) has had a lifelong passion for the arts. She received her costume design degree at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Upon graduation she worked in fabric and textile design, before moving into costume design full time. Amaris has worked on many dance and theater productions for bay area companies: Crimes of the Heart for Cinnabar, Thoroughly Modern Millie for Solano College, Mikado for West Marin Players, Oliver Twist for Marin Theatre Company, Peter Pan for Pied Piper Productions, Mary Poppins for North Bay Rep, Taming of the Shrew for Curtain Theater, Myth and Machine, Kali Fierce Mother for Carmen Carnes Dance Ensemble, Roco Dance & Sunset Dance Academy among others. Awards include Arty Awards (Little Mermaid, Annie) and Elly Awards (Thoughly Modern Millie).
Amaris is proud and honored to be a part of such an amazing cast and crew for the production of Time Stands Still.

Browning John Browning (James Dodd) graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts in 2009 from Sonoma State University and was Marketing Director for Narrow Way Stage Co. His acting credits include Bug (Peter), Richard III (Duke of Gloucester), Julius Caesar (Mark Antony), Becky Shaw (Max) and August: Osage County (Little Charles) in which he received a S.F. Bay Area Critics Award. John’s Cinnabar credits include Driving Miss Daisy (Boolie) and Arcadia (Captain Brice). He thanks the artistic staff here at Cinnabar and to Sheri for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this powerful play. John expresses his love and gratitude to his partner Mel.

Dreikosen Jesse Dreikosen (Set Designer) is excited to be making his design debut here at The Cinnabar Theater. He is currently the Head of Design & Production at The University of Idaho Department of Theatre Arts. He received his MFA in scene design from Purdue University and a BFA in theatre design from Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He worked as the resident set designer for three seasons at New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida. Recently his design for the world premiere of Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons played Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in New York City. He also designs for such theatres as The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Texas Repertory Theatre Company, The Texas Shakespeare Festival, The Mint Theater Company, The Red Fern Theatre Company, The Ohio Theater, The Renaissance Theatre, Cinnabar Theater and The 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, California. He is currently the Vice-Commissioner of Education in the Scene Design & Technologies Commission for The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and the National Vice-Chair of Design, Technology and Management for The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Hovey Wayne Hovey (Light Designer) has been working in the technical side of theater for more than 40 years, doing everything from backstage work to set, sound and lighting design and stage management. He has provided lighting design for more than 15 shows at Cinnabar, including Woody Guthrie’s American Song, Shirley Valentine, La Cage aux Folles and Of Mice and Men. He also designed sets for Cinnabar’s Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, The Marriage of Figaro, Bad Dates and others.

Lowry Laura Lowry (Sarah Goodwin) is honored to be back at Cinnabar, one of her favorite theaters to play at. A snapshot of shows from the Bay Area, Regional and New York theaters include: The Secret of Life (Indra’s Net Theater), Other People’s Money (Main Stage Theater) The Philadelphia Story (Cinnabar Theater) Hard Laughter (Alter Theatre), Angel Face (Word for Word) Electra (Stanford Summer Theater), Enchanted April (Cinnabar Theater), Titus Andronicus (American Globe Theatre), The Way of the World, The Weir (Asolo Theater Festival), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Cape Playhouse). Laura received her MFA from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Much love to her dear family, incredible friends and wonderful students, without whom, her life would be considerably less awesome.

MillerIvy Ivy Rose Miller (Mandy Bloom) is a Sonoma County native. She attended Santa Rosa High School’s Artquest/Theater program and went on to get her B.A. in Gender Studies from UCLA with a minor in Theater. Favorite past performances include Kid in T.I.C. (Trench coast in Common), Alais in The Lion in Winter, Babe in Crimes of the Heart, Olivia in Twelfth Night, and Debbie in The Real Thing. She is thrilled to be back at Cinnabar and working with this inspiring group of artists.

Miller Sheri Lee Miller (Director) is a director and actor who has worked with some of the leading theaters on the West Coast, including Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theater, Tacoma Actors Guild, The Gaslamp Quarter Theater, Seattle Children’s Theater and Centerstage. Locally she has had the privilege of working with Actors Theater, Cinnabar Theater, Sonoma County Repertory Theater, 6th Street Playhouse, Spreckels Theatre Company and Main Stage West.
At Cinnabar, she most recently directed Arcadia (SFBACC nominee for Best Stage Direction), Of Mice and Men (SFBACC nominee for Best Stage Direction) and La Cage Aux Folles, for which she won the SFBACC awards for Best Stage Direction and Costume Design. She also directed Polar Bears, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike and T.I.C. (Trenchcoat in Common) (SFBACC nominee for Best Stage Direction) at Main Stage West; Annie Get Your Gun at Spreckels Theater Company; Yesterday Again at 6th Street Playhouse, and The Tempest at Sebastopol Shakes. Other directing credits include: A Couple of Blaguards, The Weir, Born Yesterday, Crimes of the Heart, Tartuffe, Almost Maine, Death of a Salesman, Leading Ladies, Boston Marriage, Over the River and Through the Woods, Stones in His Pockets, The Turn of the Screw, Company, The Bachelors, Communicating Doors, Escanaba in Da Moonlight, How I Learned to Drive, Waiting For the Parade, and the world premieres of Renaissance, The Tailor of Gloucester, Alice!, Polar Bears and Pinky. Sheri is a member of Actors Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Shillington John Shillington (Richard Ehrlich) received his Ph.D. in Theater from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and loves directing and creating a safe space for actors to explore. He has been awarded Denver Critics and Best of Boulder awards for productions he directed. Previously he taught acting and directed theater productions in Jiangsu College in China, a high school in Kenya where he served as headmaster, the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, and at Woodstock School in India. For three years he was the Artistic Director and founder of El Sitio Theatre in Antigua, Guatemala and wrote Grappling With Atrocitiy: Guatemalan Theater in the 1990s. For the past 15 years, John has planted himself in Sonoma County and taught at Santa Rosa Jr. College where he has directed a slew of plays including Almost Maine, Phantom of the Opera, and Jesus Christ Superstar. A friend told him turning 50 is the decade in life to live fearlessly. So he went back on the boards and played the title character in Jekyll and Hyde, roles in Young Frankenstein, Deathtrap (Spreckles), Souvenir (6th Street – Best Actor Bay Area Critics Award), Tevye in Fiddler (Sonoma State) and a one-man-show Underneath the Lintel at Main Stage West. At Cinnabar he appeared in The Price, She Loves Me, and the recent production of Mahalia Jackson: Just As I Am. John also directed Shirley Valentine and Fiddler on the Roof for Cinnabar.

Ross Tiffany-Brown (Stage Manager) has been working at Cinnabar for the past 6 years. He has spent countless hours as a Stage Manager for the professional plays and musicals, as well as running all the Sunday Concert Series and stage rental performances. He also enjoys helping with the lights, sound, sets, props, and costumes. In addition to his efforts at Cinnabar, he also does the same glorious work for Sonoma State University and Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park.His most recent stage management project at Cinnabar was Mahalia Jackson: Just As I Am.

When some playwrights tackle morality, they awkwardly pummel their subjects as if using a 20-pound, two-handed hammer for the first time. Not so David Margulies, who dissects issues from multiple sides while wielding his keyboard with scalpel-like precision. Take “Time Stands Still,” for instance. Thumbs up3In about 95 compact minutes of running time, he probes the collapse of bodies and relationships, motherhood’s limitations and nurturing, in-your-face prying vs. distanced observation, love and betrayal. Without turning his dialogue into a pompous polemic.
Without turning his characters into caricatures.
Without forgetting that life can be filled with humor, albeit acerbic, even when things look pretty dim.
The dramedy, playing at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma only through April 17, is as good — in my view — as anything produced in the Bay Area this entire season. Everything works.
The four actors — Lara Lowry as Sarah Goodwin, an irritable, wounded professional photographic chronicler of society’s underbelly; John Browning as James Dodd, combat correspondent with more than a touch of post-traumatic stress disorder; John Shillington as Richard Ehrlich, the midlife duo’s editor friend and cheerleader; and Ivy Rose Miller as Mandy Bloom, Richard’s childlike but sensitive girlfriend — are all first-class craftsmen.
Lowry excels particularly when displaying physical pain or mental anguish. And Miller excels when naively blurting out exactly the wrong things. But all four have the capacity to deliver lines that make an audience — and me in particular — get emotionally involved. As I did toward the end of each act. After Margulies had built tension and then let it dissipate for a while through scathing laugh lines.
Aiding the actors, who are deftly paced by director Sheri Lee Miller, is a set designed by Jesse Dreikosen that, contrary to the trend of impressionistic environments, is exacting in detail.
It makes me feel, in fact, that I could actually live in the bedroom-living room-kitchen loft where the action occurs. Helpful, too, is recorded music during blackouts that sets a mood and reflects their travels to the Middle East and Africa, for example.
And it doesn’t hurt that Lowry hobbles when leaving the stage, fully in character, in the darkness between scenes.

Time Stands Still, which ran on Broadway in 2010, has an uncomplicated storyline: Sarah, a trust baby who enjoys focusing her camera on “wars, famines, genocide,” thereby cementing them in time, has arrived home to rehab from an exploding roadside bomb that mangled her left leg, scarred her face and rendered her unconscious for two weeks. And killed her interpreter. Sarah is reuniting with her med-taking life-partner of eight years, Jamie, who’s recovering from an equally scary overseas incident. The pair must re-negotiate their relationship — especially after a betrayal.
Along the way are deliberations over whether “the camera’s there to record life, not change it,” whether “there’s so much beauty in the world and you just see misery,” or whether the protagonists “live off the suffering of strangers.”
Without wasting words, Time Stands Still asks a lot of questions.
Some of them unanswerable. Just like in real life.   – Woody Weingarten, For All Events

Playwright Donald Margulies is not particularly interested in either the politics of war or the gory details of modern warfare. From his Pulitzer nominated play Collected Stories to his Pulitzer-winning play The Dinner Party, Margulies has always been interested in relationships, and the way extraordinary circumstance force people to peel away the beliefs and desires and secrets and lies around which their lives become wrapped.
That is exactly what happens, brilliantly, in Margulies’ flawlessly observed comedy-drama Time Stands Still, running now at Cinnabar Theater. The achingly authentic adrenaline-junkies at the center of the play are very much interested in the politics and power of war, though to Sarah and Jamie, it’s much more than just a profession. It’s their reason for living—until a series of horrific events in a war-ravaged country returns them both to the states, one scarred mentally, one only physically.
Photographer Sarah has only narrowly survived a car bombing in Iraq, an event that left her in a coma for several weeks. Her longtime journalist boyfriend Jamie (John Browning, also excellent) would have been with her, had he not suffered a war-stress breakdown and returned home alone several weeks before the explosion. As Sarah, Laura Lowry is excellent, balancing brittle fragility against steely resolve. Browning, for his part, portrays Jamie’s post-traumatic trauma with a nicely subdued sensitivity, instantly telling us that in witnessing one-too-many horrors, Jamie’s war addiction may have just been given exactly the right intervention it needed.
But as he forcefully works to leave the battlefield behind—all but ignoring the book he’s agreed to write to accompany Sarah’s wartime photographs–Sarah, quite clearly, cannot wait to get back into harm’s way. Feeling caged by her own wounds, smothering under Jamie’s loving but stifling care, she struggles hard to regain a sense of normalcy in a world of polite conversation, dinner parties, theater performances—and the absence of constant physical danger. Adding further complications to the relationship with Jamie is her guilt over the death of Tariq, the America-loving Iraqi interpreter who died in the roadside bombing that almost killed her.
Siding with Jamie is the couple’s friend-and-editor Richard—a spot-on John Shillington—and his much-younger new girlfriend Mandy, played by Ivy Rose Miller, who is brilliantly layered and full of surprises. Initially, Jamie and Sarah cannot understand what Richard sees in the chipper young event planner. Sheltered, but hardly lacking in grit, Mandy brings an outside perspective to that subtly but powerful alters the way these hardened professionals look at war, and their own participation in it.
Director Sheri Lee Miller skillfully and gracefully guides the story forward with an emphasis on emotional authenticity, gradually building tension, and believable connections between her characters. Packed with gradual revelations and delightfully acerbic observations, supported by first-rate lighting, sound and set design, Time Stands Still is a remarkable, breathlessly beautiful achievement, as hopeful and healing as it is heartbreaking, intelligent and wise.
– David Templeton, Second Row Center, for KRCB

“If it weren’t for people like me … the ones with the cameras,” says Sarah, a photojournalist recently returned from a war zone, “… who would know? Who would care?” Sarah (Laura Lowry) is defending her profession after it’s come under attack from Mandy, the much-younger girlfriend of her editor and longtime friend Richard (John Shillington). Mandy (Ivy Rose Miller) had seen video of a dying baby elephant and was overwhelmed with grief that those recording the scene didn’t step in to help. It’s a surprisingly heartfelt moment in a play in which life and death are treated with a certain chilly emotional distance, but it raises questions that reverberate throughout: Is change possible? Can one person make a difference?
Sarah defends the videographers, telling Mandy that animals die all the time in the wild, unrecorded, and that even if the crew had tried to help the elephant, it likely would have died anyway. Their efforts would have been moot. But the question is far broader than this. Ultimately, Sarah wants to know if the work she has devoted her life to—photographing war and other atrocities in all the world’s worst places—ever actually results in any real change. In the play’s second act we’ll see if James, Sarah’s longtime partner—in both life and reportage—has himself been transformed, and if he can sufficiently change Sarah to match his desires.
The play that raises these (and other) questions is Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, currently running in a compelling new production at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. The title refers to a description by Sarah of what she’s feeling when she lifts the camera to her eye and the whole world is shut out and she exists only within the confines of her viewfinder. Time stops, and she sees only the picture.
Sarah is an adventurer, even an adrenaline junkie. She thrives on drama and an elevated heart rate. As the play begins, James is carrying Sarah into her well-appointed Brooklyn loft. Her left leg is immobilized in a brace and her face is covered on one side with scars from the IED blast that killed her fixer and sent her into a weeks-long coma. Finally, she has come home to rehabilitate, but she is determined to get back to her work as soon as possible. James, who has his own PTSD issues, wonders if they can’t create a better life by embracing a calmer life.
I’m tempted to tell you more about the fascinating and gripping story Margulies has written, but you’re better off discovering it for yourself. And Cinnabar has done a marvelous job of putting it on stage for you.
The set by Jesse Dreikosen is nearly as perfect a representation of a Brooklyn loft as we’re going to get on the left coast. From the open kitchen to the post-and-beam framing and exposed brick to the sliding barn door entrance, it screams Williamsburg. (Except for the deadbolt on the barn door, which, given that the door slides, would be an ineffectual security measure.) This is very different in style from Dreikosen’s set for 6th Street Playhouse’s Anna in the Tropics,, but just as marvelously realized.
The terrific set is occupied by an equally marvelous, well-balanced cast. Laura Lowry gives us a Sarah who isn’t wounded so much as she is annoyed. Her injury is important only in that it’s an impediment to her doing what she feels called to do. Lowry gives us this annoyance in a kind of petulant slow burn, leavened with the occasional seething snarkiness. As Sarah’s Stanford-educated reporter boyfriend, John Browning does excellent work—but fails to convince me he wouldn’t be chewed up and spat out by the churning, shredding maw of a war zone. His James seems too kind—and too caught up in his own head—to thrive in that environment. While it’s true that his last assignment affected him deeply, perhaps gentling him somewhat, a war correspondent is going to have more rough edges than Browning shows us.
John Shillington, however, shows that when given a well-written part he can create a real character. His Richard exhibits the giddy joy of a man in love and the passion of a man committed to his work, and does beautiful work in showing distinct ways of relating to each of the other three characters. Shillington makes his interactions with Sarah, James, and Mandy a lesson in organic chemistry.
Outshining all these three performances, however, is a delightful, sincere, passionate portrayal by Ivy Rose Miller. Her Mandy is innocent but not guileless. The character is smarter than she appears to be at first, but Miller does a brilliant job of revealing her character to us at a pace that matches perfectly with how Margulies reveals her to us. That kind of inner growth is hard to show on stage, but Miller manages to pull it off without breaking a sweat. She’s a standout, but also blends beautifully with the rest of the cast.
Although time stands still for Sarah when she has her eye to the viewfinder, it does not offer us the same accommodation. If you let April 17 (the closing date) pass without having seen this latest terrific offering from Cinnabar, you will have missed one of the best dramas in the North Bay in some time.  – Patrick Thomas, Talkin’ Broadway


Photo: Eric Chazankin

Photo: Eric Chazankin

Ivy Rose Miller, John Shillington, John Browning and Laura Lowry in Time Stands Still

Photo: Eric Chazankin

John Browning and Laura Lowry in Time Stands Still

Photo: Eric Chazankin

Laura Lowry in Time Stands Still

Photo: Eric Chazankin

John Shillington and Ivy Rose Miller in Time Stands Still

Photo: Eric Chazankin

Laura Lowry and John Browning in Time Stands Still

Photo: Eric Chazankin

Ivy Rose Miller and Laura Lowry in Time Stands Still

Photo: Eric Chazankin