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 City, this vivid, challenging drama explores the spiritual and emotional isolation of Anna and Pale, two outcasts who meet in the wake of a mutual friend's accidental death. 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. Indeed, Burn This confirms his standing as one of America's greatest living playwrights.
"From his earliest plays to his latest, Burn This, 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 . . . Wilson exposes deep uncauterized emotional wounds—and offers no salve."—Mel Gussow, The New York Times
"[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