Date: July 9, 2009
Author: Amber Foote
Husband's chronic fatigue threatens his marriage in new play
It's difficult to find happily ever after in marriage when your spouse
sleeps all day and the only dreams coming true are the ones that float
off his pillow. That's the dilemma facing Grace Arden in the play
"Standing Still Standing," a joint production of Bluelight Stage and
Leilani Productions. The show is being presented by New Play Project
at Provo Theatre Company tonight through July 27.
"Standing Still Standing," written by local playwright Melissa Leilani
Larson, is a story about love and life, and finding that elusive
happiness in marriage even amid turbulent times and unexpected
challenges. For Grace's husband, Ben Arden, who has chronic fatigue
syndrome, it's a trick just to stay awake.
"When Ben was a junior in college," said William McAllister, who plays
the character of Ben Arden, "he got bit by a tick." In a comic book,
the bite might have turned Ben into a superhero, but in the real-life
world of "Standing Still Standing," it merely resulted in his being
stricken with CFS.
"It's an incurable illness that leaves Ben exhausted all the time,"
McAllister said. "He's been asleep for most of his married life, and
it's had a toll on his relationship with his wife, Grace."
The Ardens, who live in Seattle, have been married for three years and
are financially supported by Grace -- who is ready to wake things up
in their marriage and move on with their life. Since much of Ben's
time is spent snoozing, however, his visions of Billy Joe, the Pope
and other unexpected guests who pop into his dreams are the most
lively part of his existence.
Grace is sick and tired of the status quo. Ben is also sick, but
mostly just tired. Both of them want more out of life, but whether
their futures will be shared or separate is an open question.
"Grace is ready to move forward and buy a house and have kids," said
Landon Wheeler, director of "Standing Still Standing." "Ben doesn't
know if he can make those commitments, because he doesn't know what
each day will be like with CFS. Both Ben and Grace want a happily ever
after, but have made other things their priority and have forgotten to
put each other unselfishly first."
The question for the unhappy couple, ultimately, is how committed they
are to maintaining their marriage.
"We are at a point where we need to make some choices," McAllister
said of the couple's relationship. "Do we go on living like we have
been the last three years? Do we stay together, or do we decide to
take the easy way out and split up?"
"Standing Still Standing," Wheeler said, deals with real-life issues
and real people, while bringing humor to a challenging situation.
Humor, and a thought-provoking message about life, love and not just
finding, but choosing, happiness.
"This show works," the director said, "because it doesn't beat you
over the head with its message. The writing is subtle and natural and
speaks on many levels. You can take multiple things out of the show,
depending on where you are in your life."
If you go
'Standing Still Standing'
When: Performances nightly at 7:30 p.m. tonight through July 27 on
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays; matinees at 2 p.m. on
Where: Provo Theatre Company, 105 E. 100 North, Provo
Tickets: $12/adults, $10/students and seniors
(c) 2009 Provo Daily Herald