- OnStage New York Critic
A woman is sitting on a bench. A man walks by and notices her sitting there alone. They silently flirt, coyly and innocently, until the man decides to sit on the bench next to her and attempt to have a conversation. When the silence is broken, this dramatic presentation shatters and falls apart. This unfortunately is the dilemma the new one act play “Still Not” is facing. It is billed as a play about waiting for love, but the commonly used literary trope of beginning where it ends and ending where it began, just reinforces the futile situation.
What resonates in this two-hander is the desperate need to once again learn how to physically communicate in this new world of technical dialogue, where it is easy to hurt, disappoint, and make excuses without much consequence. In that respect the dialogue between these two strangers demonstrates how the art of physical communication is lost and how words can sabotage intentions and emotions when a conversation is awkward at best. After the first of five meetings on the park bench the chitchat becomes inane and repetitious, only serving as a vehicle for comedic overtones and situations. It is devoid of character development and dramatic arc leaving one scene indiscernible from another.
The two actors Harrison Bryan (Him), who also penned the piece, and Shelby Hightower (Her) come as close to creating interesting characters as the script allows but lack the chemistry to provide and support emotional content. Mr. Bryan relies too much on his clowning experience to win his audience over and at times undermines the creation of a viable character. That being said, perhaps this piece of theater would fare better as a sensitive, powerful pantomime, sans script, reminiscent of the great Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca.
At this incarnation “Still Not” still does not reach its full potential and leaves the audience still waiting for something more.
“Still Not” is presented by The New York International Fringe Festival and at WOW Café, 59-61 East 4th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Avenue).
The cast of “Still Not” features Harrison Bryan and Shelby Hightower. Production photos by Jay Zawacki.
For more information about the show including performance dates, the cast, and creative team, please visit. For more information about the 20th Annual New York Fringe Festival visit www.FringeNYC.org.
Pictured: Shelby Hightower and Harrison Bryan. Photographer: Jay Zawacki.