Abi Morgan's play about two childhood friends who encounter a free-spirited woman receives a fine production, but the story instantly fades from memory.
More than a decade later, her intimate memory play, Tiny Dynamite is having its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters, courtesy of the Origin Theatre Company. Unfortunately, the story quickly evaporates from the mind upon leaving the theater.
In the work, childhood friends Lucien (Christian Conn) and Anthony (Blake DeLong) escape for their yearly seaside vacation only to encounter Madeleine (Olivia Horton), a radiant free spirit whose presence causes the men to revisit a memory they'd like to forget.
She appears in flashes at first and chance glimpses around town but Anthony, the more impulsive of the two, engages her in conversation when she winds up on their doorstep as the grocery delivery girl. The three bond with an instant familiarity that's all too easy. Lucien is cautious of what will come but allows Antony to see where this connection will end.
The tiny bare stage set that designer Maruti Evans has created accentuates the poetry of Morgan's words. Lucien's opening monologue recalling an experience with lightning from which the play's title is taken is particularly thrilling. "Fearful of lightning and loud noises and bad things, the shy boy shelters as best he can, forks of lightning falling down hard around him, burning out the street lights and sparking the rain on the Tarmac. His best friend…scorns his terror, for nothing scares him."
These childhood remembrances come back throughout the play along with images of a girl the men used to know, and their unresolved emotions drive their interactions with Madeline sometimes in uncomfortable ways.