When serious minded New York choreographer Anna (Jessica Clarke) and hothead restaurant manager Pale (Mark Diaco) are brought together by a mysterious death, their connection sparks a chemistry too explosive to ignore in Lanford Wilson’s landmark play Burn This. Set in the summer of 1983 against the backdrop of lower Manhattan and the raging AIDS epidemic, Burn This was Wilson’s attempt to create a psychic map of panic after experiencing a panic attack walking down a street in NY.

Looking to understand what was going on around him, he sat down to write and remembered a guy he’d met seven years earlier from New Jersey who became the inspiration for Pale.

Directed by Green Room and Sydney Theatre Award winner Iain Sinclair (MTC’s A View from the Bridge) and produced by 16th Street Actors Studio, this production of Burn This has been a long time in the making.

With a reputation as one of the best directors of contemporary American plays following his acclaimed productions of A View From the Bridge in Sydney and Melbourne, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre, Iain Sinclair says Burn This is, “Theatre for theatre lovers. It is not post-modern; it is visceral and it is a play that you burn to do.”

Burn This also marks 16th Street Actors Studio’s first foray into producing, with a mission to empower actors to shine. “Our studio is all about the actor and the play,” says Krejus. “Our focus has been on training for over ten years, and the next horizon (while still continuing training) is to create work opportunities for actors in both theatre and film. We are so delighted to be doing this at fortyfivedownstairs with this wonderful cast.

Joining Diaco is Jessica Clarke, who returns to fortyfivedownstairs after the critically acclaimed production of Patalog Theatre Co’s Punk Rock last year. Clarke’s other theatre credits include Pomona for Red Stitch and Therese Raquin for Critical Stages. Dushan Phillips also returns to fortyfive after his Green Room winning performance in Angels in America. Phillips plays Larry, Anna’s gay housemate. Rounding out the cast is Jacob Collins Levy (16th Street Graduate) as Anna’s screenwriter boyfriend. Levy has had a particularly interesting journey thus far, having moved to London to star opposite Jody Comer (Killing Eve) in The White Princess before making the choice to return home to Australia due to the pandemic. This will be his stage debut.

26 January – 7 February, 2021