Introduction & Overview of Burn This by Lanford Wilson

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Burn This Summary & Study Guide Description

Burn This Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on Burn This by Lanford Wilson.

Burn This opened in Los Angeles, California, on January 22,1987. Wilson's play is a contemporary romantic drama, but it is not a happy romance, and even the resolution cannot be described as entirely happy. The two romantic leads, Anna and Pale, do not find love easy, and it is not easy for the audience to witness. Early reviews of the play were mixed. Although reviewers commended Joan Allen and John Malkovich' s performances, some critics questioned the credibility of an attraction between Anna and Pale. Nevertheless, the play has been generally well-received because the characters are interesting, particularly Larry, Anna's homosexual roommate, who is funny and endearing. In a 1986 interview with David Savron, Wilson explained that Burn This is a love story different from any other love story because the characters do not say, "I love you"; they say, "I don't want this." This conflict, argued Wilson, makes the love story contemporary. Wilson spent time studying modern dance so that he could incorporate the atmosphere and style into his character of Anna. Burn This is Wilson's thirty-eighth play, and he was willing to wait for nearly a year to put it on stage because he wanted John Malkovich to play Pale. He has stated that with this play he wanted to recapture the convoluted plotting of his earliest plays. Wilson relies upon dialogue to reveal the plot, and thus, the audience must pay close attention in order to follow the action. Burn This was not as commercially or critically successful as were Wilson's Talley's Folly or Hot I Baltimore, but it has been widely discussed as a depiction of a contemporary love story.

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Drama for Students
Burn This from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.