Sheri Lee Miller on directing at Cinnabar, why actors get better with age, and her emotional new show ‘Time Stands Still’

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Director Sheri Lee Miller (center) watches a rehearsal of ‘Time Stands Still,’ with actors John Browning (left) and Laura Lowry (Right) (Photo by John O’Hara/Argus Courier)

“It’s impossible to direct, or act, without using some of what you’ve experienced in your own life,” suggests actor-director Sheri Lee Miller, scooting her chair closer to the heater in the rehearsal room at Cinnabar Theater. As the sound of falling rain grows louder overhead, she takes a moment to mull that last thought over.

“I think that’s why actors tend to get better with age,” she said. “They have more and more experience to draw on. Directors, too. We also, hopefully, get better with age. And we do tend to bring our own personal stories to the work we create on stage. That’s just part of the process of making art.”

It’s a rainy Saturday morning in late March, and Miller, of Santa Rosa, has arrived early to prepare for a rehearsal of Cinnabar’s upcoming production “Time Stands Still,” by Pulitzer winning playwright Donald Margulies. Critically acclaimed in its 2010 Broadway run — featuring Laura Linney, Brian D’Arcy James, Alicia Silverstone and Eric Bogosian — Margulies’ often brilliant script takes a compelling, artfully crafted, frequently funny look at the lives of modern-day journalists, the writers and photographers who cover wars and other political conflicts in foreign countries, examining the cost of remaining objective in the midst of real human suffering.

Cinnabar-Theater“It’s a remarkably well-written play,” Miller noted. “It’s a love story, in a way, with two different couples, one of them a loose journalistic team. Something bad happened overseas, and the story picks up once they are back home, as they try to find a way to deal with, and heal from, what happened. It’s really a wonderful story and our cast is just magnificent in it, all of them.”

With a smile, she added, “Our stage manager is excellent, too.”

Click ‘Here‘ to read full story in the Petaluma Argus-Courier

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