Burn This by Lanford Wilson
A Staged Reading in the CWP Black Box Theatre
The place is a Manhattan loft shared by Anna, a lithe young dancer-choreographer, and her two gay roommates—her collaborator, Robby, who has just been killed in a freak boating accident, and Larry, a world-weary, caustically funny young advertising executive. As the play begins Anna is recovering from attending Robby’s funeral, comforted by her wealthy, well-meaning boyfriend, Burton, a sci-fi screenwriter whose persistent proposals of marriage Anna finds herself unable to accept. Then, with sudden, unexpected explosiveness, Robby’s older brother, Pale, bursts on the scene. He has come to collect his brother’s belongings—but stays on to transform the action of the play and the lives of those in it. Menacing, profane, dangerous and yet oddly sensitive, Pale is both terrifying and fascinating and, in the end, the one who brings to Anna the unsettling but compelling love that, despite her fears and doubts, she cannot turn away.
A powerful, electrifying work by the playwright whom many regard as our theatre’s finest living writer. Presented both in Los Angeles and on Broadway to critical and popular acclaim, the play probes deeply and with great dramatic and comic effect into the lives of its singular characters. “Quite simply, Lanford Wilson’s BURN THIS is superb writing transformed into brilliant theatre…” —Drama-Logue. “BURN THIS is Lanford Wilson’s masterpiece.” —LA Herald Examiner. “Broadway has finally gotten masterfully into its stride with a new American play—BURN THIS…” —NY Post. “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.” —Newsweek.