Burn This Lit up the Stage I attended the play Burn This on the evening on November 19th in the Paseo Neuvo Theater in Downtown. The Center Stage Theater Company did an exceptional job in making this play a success in nearly every aspect. The stage and set design worked very well with the style of the performance, which was well accompanied by the lighting in the theater. The actors encompassed their roles with realism and emotion that made me feel as if I was watching a real live drama. Every line that was delivered, whether it was directed at the audience or being thrown at one of the other actors on stage, was done with strength and conviction. Even the movements on stage were done for specific reasons and had motivation, which made every action appear incredibly believable. The Center Stage Acting Company's performance of Burn This was a phenomenal display of feelings and emotion, and is a credit to the amount of talent that is thriving in the world of acting in Southern California.
Burn This is an extremely emotional and intimate play which worked beautifully with the Paseo Nuevo stage. The house of the theater provides seating at the same level of the stage, which is a three-quarter thrust stage. This setup placed the audience nearly on stage with the actors, making it possible for the audience to see every last detail down to the smallest smirk in one of the actors facial expression. Set and Lighting Designer Theodore Michael Dolas also did a marvelous job with making the set appear totally realistic. The furniture in the apartment fit perfectly together an accurately depicted what one would envision these characters apartment to be like. The lighting design was well constructed as well as the sound design. Both of these features of the play were flawless, which helped to realize the action of the play without given away the fact that the action was not real. At no point were the actors out of the lights of unable to be heard. In agreement with the rest of the play, the technical features were ever so impressive.
The most impressive aspect of the play however was the brilliant performances by all of the actors and actresses in the cast. Every member of the cast appeared to be completely into the roles of their characters. It almost seamed as if the characters were written after the personalities of the actors instead of the other way around. The most impressive performance overall was by actor Patrick John Duda who played the part of Larry. Larry was the character who mostly watched after Anna and made sure she was doing well. With every line that he delivered I could her the soft and gentle tone that one would use if they were concerned for another's well being. Even when he wasn't talking, his gestures symbolized nurturing and care towards her with actions such as caressing her hand and brushing her hair out of her face. Although Duda was an exceptional actor he narrowly outshined the rest of the star-studded cast. The show was so outstanding, that no one person or aspect of the show could steal the spotlight.
The entire cast portrayed their characters so persuasively that the audience was moved to a standing ovation at the conclusion of the show. The technical aspects of the show were flawlessly executed and brilliantly designed. Every detail of the set, sound, and lighting added to the marvel of the performance. The acting was the most convincing display of emotion that I have seen from an off Broadway show in a long time. Every actor played his or her character with heartfelt emotion that left me wanting to see more. The show balanced the perfect amount of drama with comic relief to satisfy any audience. If I had a part in theatre critiquing, he and I would give Burn This two thumbs up, for doing a sensational job on a emotionally touching play.