Everyone handles distressing health news differently. In Things I Left on Long Island, when 28-year-old Marny finds a lump in her breast, she quits her job in the city, leaves her fiancé and hits the L.I.E. to move back in with her mother. She also writes the meta-play we are watching (at times reminiscent of Lisa Kron’s Well) as a means to confront her mother, aunt, and grandmother about their health histories and life choices, and to determine how she herself should now move forward. The talented cast, led by Elysia Segal as Marny, conveys a lot of heart. Susanna Hari channels a bit of Kathy Najimy in her feisty performance as Grandma, and Jenn Mello—as Marny’s brusque, acerbic Aunt Velma—knows how to dish out a comic zinger. Playwright Sara Cooper possesses an amicable, insightful voice, and Noah Himmelstein’s buoyant direction sustains the script's delicate blend of humor and pathos. Early in the play, Marny asks her mother, “Why can’t we be nice to each other?”—to which her mother replies, “Don’t be ridiculous. We’re not strangers.” It’s a response that hints at a long, hidden mass of pain that, like it or lump it, Marny must excise.—Robin Rothstein
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