A reunion of former lovers in ‘Still’ at Off-Broadway’s DR2 Theatre

Helen and Mark, now in their mid-60s, ended their romantic relationship some 30 years ago over serious issues on which they couldn’t agree, but they never forgot each other or stopped wondering “what if . . .” They’ve reunited for a catch-up drink at the bar of the hotel at which he’s staying, on a trip into town after decades apart, and though the memories and chemistry are still there, and both are now free and available to rekindle the love they once had, their personal and political divides also remain, exacerbated by their current situations and the momentous personal and political concerns that not only linger, but have become even more divisive in our present time, as seen in Colt Coeur’s NYC debut of the dramatic rom-com Still by Lia Romeo, now playing a limited Off-Broadway engagement at the DR2 Theatre after its 2023 premiere at the Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont.

Tim Daly and Jayne Atkinson. Photo by Joey Moro.

The funny, heated, and timely two-hander stars Jayne Atkinson and Tim Daly reprising their roles as Helen, a still-single successful novelist, whose fictional writing is based on her own experiences with the real people she knows, and Mark, a divorced lawyer with two daughters, who’s considering a run for Congress. Directed at a fluid whirlwind pace by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, the characters, over the course of one night, talk and laugh, tease and flirt, kiss and retire to his room to revisit the intimacy they once shared; it’s all great until the old problems resurface, tempers flare, and insults fly (as do the contents of her large purse, including an avocado, a bottle of hot sauce, a ukelele, and everything else she throws at him). Can they put aside their differences, agree to disagree, and continue to see each other, or is it really the end this time?

Adding to the difficult decision of “should I stay, or should I go?” is her medical diagnosis and his anxiety about a secret from their past that he doesn’t want to surface in her new book or in the press covering his election campaign. But while handing her the things she hurled across the room at him so she can repack her bag for her intended departure, he convinces her to play him a song on her ukelele. She only knows two, and she chooses “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” It’s a moment of sweetness and unguarded emotion that softens their animosity and reveals the love and connection they still feel for one another in spite of their differences.

Jayne Atkinson and Tim Daly. Photo by Joey Moro.

Atkinson and Daly are well-paired as the opposites that attract, in empathetic portrayals that deliver both the laughs and the pain of their characters – the joy they experience, the worries they face, and the loneliness they feel, which could be alleviated and/or aggravated by reviving their relationship. There is a palpable spark between them that is readily legible in their postures, facial expressions, voices, and demeanors, whether joking, sharing a kiss or the bed, discussing or arguing. And though you will undoubtedly be in greater accord with one than the other based on their socio-political stances, you can’t help but recognize what they saw, and still see, in one another, as well as the urgency in getting older and not having another 30 years to decide if they want to stay apart or be together.

Jayne Atkinson and Tim Daly. Photo by Joey Moro.

A rotating set by Alexander Woodward transitions easily from the sleek post-modern bar to the hotel room, with sound by Hidenori Nakajo and lighting by Reza Behjat that enhance the spaces and the moods. Costumes by Barbara A. Bell are indicative of the upscale characters and their ages, and props by Samantha Shoffner are essential to the show’s comedic content.

The quickly developing, then devolving, potential for reigniting the love between Helen and Mark in Colt Coeur’s engaging production is at first amusing and then provocative, in its framing of their discord in a debate from three decades ago that resonates today. Still.

Running Time: Approximately 65 minutes, without intermission.

Still plays through Thursday, May 23, 2024, at DR2 Theatre, 103 East 15th Street, NYC. For tickets (priced at $16.50-70, including fees), call (212) 239-6200, or go online.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here