Burn This
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Burn This

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  800 ratings  ·  18 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 98 pages
Published February 1st 1988 by Hill and Wang (first published December 31st 1987)
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Never thought much about this playwright but I can easily envision paying money to see this (especially for its 1987 debut with John Malkovich as the somewhat emotionally complex but also thuggish Pale - plainly an opportunity unlikely to recur).

The opening stage directions say "the time is the present" but there's a lot that is quite period-specific (cocaine, Tribeca as wasteland for only brave artists and so on).

Not really central to the play, but I enjoyed a speech he puts in the mouth of a c...more
Jan 01, 2008 amy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
Junior year at UMD - I played Anna, my dear friend Peter Ooley played Pale and one of my favorite professors, Ann, directed this amazing play by Lanford Wilson. We had a Romanian guy here that designed the set. I had no idea he was paying attention at our rehearsals until he walked me to class one day and lectured me on how I was portraying Anna as a diva. He was right; from that moment on, I viewed her differently which influenced the way I moved and delivered lines. I loved reading, memorizing...more
Quite the compelling read - and I'm sure even more so to see performed live. Sometimes I can find plays harder to get into on the page, but this one was really riveting.
Sara Elice
I like this play. I was introduced to it in a class by Adrian Pasdar and it was hard to get a real sense of who the characters were from the snippits we read, so I wanted to read the whole thing to understand why he loves this play so much. And it's pretty good.

The way Pale speaks is really awkward. I get that it's stylized, but I can't actualy imagine an actor reciting it as written...although I'm sure Malkovich pulled it off spectacularly. It's just hard to picture.
Aug 20, 2007 A. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: theater
My senior thesis show -- uneven and heavily dependent on having an actor who can carry Pale (who reads terribly on the page; his long speeches, which are completely spell-binding with a good actor, are awkward and hard to read), but with moments of utter transcendence. Probably doesn't deserve four stars, but holds a soft spot in my heart.

"Make it personal, tell the truth, and then write 'Burn This' on it."
Aug 05, 2008 Valerie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Shawn, Debbie
Recommended to Valerie by: Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Shelves: drama
I didn't actually read this, I saw it performed at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. I thought it was very good in places (had some lovely lines), but I never really bought the attraction between some of the characters. I'm not sure if that has to do with the play or the performance.
Nov 14, 2010 Maria rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I think this play was probably really relevant 20 years ago. But to my modern San Francisco sensibilities, it just seemed dated. I know Lanford Wilson is a big name in the canon so I will try other plays, but hopefully they will be less topical.
Real Supergirl
I still think this is one of the best plays ever written, and that the production of it I directed in 1991, when I was a senior in high school, remains the best production of it I've ever seen? Is that hubris?
Reading this and knowing John Malkovich played Pale...gosh, I wish I could've seen that! Sadly, that was when I was four. Not exactly ready for this then...
Hands down one of the greatest plays ever written. If not my favorite play it is without a doubt in the top three of all time and will always remain there.
Sep 24, 2008 Shane rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
Fucking awesome. This is Wilson's masterpiece, I think. The language is ultra realistic and it's a beautiful fucking love story that shouldn't be.
Gregory Knapp
Lanford Wilson will have to slug it out with Sam Shepard for Best American Playwright of the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Jul 16, 2007 Marc rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
The most challenging acting I've ever done. This story will haunt you and disturb you and make you feel love and pain.
my god i cried and cried. i haven't seen this produced yet. it might kill me.
My bookclub pick. Heavy and old fashioned co-dependent love story.
Chuck O'Connor
Great characters, no plot so I didn't care about the characters.
I will update after I see the play live.
Simple and moving.
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Aug 26, 2014
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Lanford Wilson was an American playwright, considered one of the founders of the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980, was elected in 2001 to the Theater Hall of Fame, and in 2004 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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