Burn This

Overview

Commissioned by the Circle Repertory Company, Burn This first appeared at the Mark Taper Forum in Los angeles in 1987 to near-universal praise. Set in the bohemian art world of downtown New York, this vivid and challenging drama explores the spiritual and emotional isolation of Anna and Pale, two outcasts who meet in the wake of the accidental death by drowning of a mutual friend. Their determined struggle toward emotional honesty and liberation—by no means guaranteed at the play's ambiguous end—exemplifies the ...

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Overview

Commissioned by the Circle Repertory Company, Burn This first appeared at the Mark Taper Forum in Los angeles in 1987 to near-universal praise. Set in the bohemian art world of downtown New York, this vivid and challenging drama explores the spiritual and emotional isolation of Anna and Pale, two outcasts who meet in the wake of the accidental death by drowning of a mutual friend. Their determined struggle toward emotional honesty and liberation—by no means guaranteed at the play's ambiguous end—exemplifies the strength, humor, and complexity of all of Lanford Wilson's work and confirms his standing as one of America's greatest living playwrights.

Lanford Wilson was born in Lebanon, Missouri, in 1938 and attended the University of Chicago. A founding member of the Circle Repertory Company in New York, he has seen many of his plays produced in theaters all over the United States and abroad. He is the recipient of many awards, including a Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Obies.

A love story with a jagged edge, this is a penetrating exposition of four violently opposing characters who are scrambling to regain control over their lives. "...Lanford Wilson's masterpiece."--Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"From his earliest plays to his last, Burn This, Lanford Wilson has been firmly committed to the free expression of the individual spirit, no matter how nonconformist or even prodigal that spirit may seem to be...In the sense that it deals with lonely and displaced characters, Burn This is in the Wilson tradition. Where it breaks dramatic ground for the author is in its passion...Mr. Wilson exposes deep uncauterized emotional wounds—and offers no salve."—Mel Gussow, The New York Times

"The play [Burn This] has a voracious vitality and an almost manic determination to drive right into the highest voltage that life can register."—Jack Kroll, Newsweek

Drama-Logue
Quite simply, Lanford Wilson's BURN THIS is superb writing transformed into brilliant theatre...
L.A. Herald Examiner
BURN THIS is Lanford Wilson's masterpiece.
NY Post
Broadway has finally gotten masterfully into its stride with a new American play—BURN THIS...
Newsweek
John Malkovich's entrance in Lanford Wilson's BURN THIS is probably the most sensational since the young Brando's in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Library Journal
The incendiary image of the title refers to letters too painful to contemplate for long. Burn This is about the pain of loss, the pain of love, and the cost in pain to be a great artist. It is both larger in implication and more personal than previous plays by Wilson. Yet it is also typical, in that it is about a tightly knit family-like group into which an outsider comes. The center of the play is Anna, a dancer, whose partner has died accidently, who must grieve and get on with her art. The catalyst character is the dead man's brother, Pale, a wild man in his passionate grief, and the center of cyclonic emotions for Anna and her friends. Anna creates an important ballet out of her agony, and Pale brings her to love. Searing. Thomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374521585
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 2/1/1988
  • Pages: 9872
  • Sales rank: 349,536
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Lanford Wilson was born in Lebanon, Missouri, in 1938 and attended the University of Chicago. A founding member of the Circle Repertory Company in New York, he has seen many of his plays produced in theaters all over the United States and abroad. He is the recipient of many awards, including a Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Obies.

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