Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Things I Left on Long Island at FringeNYC

Things I Left On Long Island is funny, sweet, sad, and revelatory. Playwright Sara Cooper weaves the story beautifully and it's directed by Noah Himmelstein, a frequent collaborator of Cooper's, with thoughtfulness and subtlety.  It's the quintessential story of Jewish mothers who also happen to be single mothers, but it doesn't free-fall into cliche. 

This is Marny's story, or her play as she refers to it.  After finding a lump in her breast, she quits her life and heads home to Long Island to live with her mother again.  The story centers around their family, the way they are and dealing with cancer as a fact of life. 

It's hilariously and very well acted by a great cast:  Lindsay Goranson mother Dolores, Susanna Hari as Grandma, Jenn Mello as Aunt Velma, Michael Rehse as Cousin Stephen, and Elysia Segal as Marny.  They had a lively and appreciative audience delighting at their delivery.

I had been to an early reading last year and was so happy to hear some of the lines again. I like the funny bits but the best part was the soliloquy about the "lump" - just to summarize because I couldn't adequately restate the beauty of the tapestry of this soliloquy: Marny muses about lumps - there are a 1000 lumps....taking your lumps...lump it or leave it...a lump of coal...a lump in your breast.

I don't know how this very young playwright Sara Cooper crafts the words with such wisdom and insight. She's able to see the humor and the pain simultaneously and present it in a provacative way that makes me laugh and keeps it in my mind. It's always the minute, still, quietest moments that I love most in a theatre piece and this soliloquy about the lump goes right to the top of that list of favorites of mine.

It's a bonus that Noah Himmelstein is a genius at directing the smallest details as well - he's all about looking at something thru a magnifying lense without putting flashing lights around it; subtlety, stillness, color and light, and thoughtfulness are his forte.

These collaborators are so young yet they have such wisdom and eyes for seeing the means!

This is one of the very best and what FringeNYC is all about - entertaining, thought-provoking, simple.   There are four more opportunities to catch "Things I Left On Long Island":  Thursday, August 14th at 4:30pm, Sunday, August 17th at 1:45pm, Thursday, August 21st at 9:00pm and Sunday, August 24th at 1:45pm.   It plays at Fringe Venue # 18, in the Players Theatre Building at 115 MacDougal (one of the best and most convenient locations for Fringe).  Tickets are available online via Eventbrite.

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