The Substance of Fire and Other Plays

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9781559360517: The Substance of Fire and Other Plays
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"Marked by the aching articulation, scathing wit and deep convictions of a mature artist with a complete vision."--Frank Rich, The New York Times

"If Arthur Miller had married Noel Coward, their son would have been Robbie Baitz." --André Bishop, from the Preface
Jon Robin Baitz startled the theatrical world with the 1985 debut of The Film Society. A frank examination of the controlling forces behind a nearly bankrupt private school for boys in South Africa, The Film Society introduced a young playwright with an extraordinarily mature grasp of people, language and society.

Baitz's recent works have fulfilled his early promise and enhanced his reputation. In The Substance of Fire (1991), a fiercely intellectual New York publisher struggles with his children for control of his business, and with the relentless pride which has made him previous to love. In The End of the Day (1992), an expatriate British doctor adapts to America by abandoning his ideals and succumbing to the twin lures of status and crime.

Jon Robin Baitz is the author of Three Hotels, The Film Society, Other Desert Cities, The End of the Day, and The Substance of Fire, which he adapted into a major motion picture. He was the showrunner on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. He also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming film Stonewall directed by Roland Emmerich. He lives in New York.

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Review:


The Substance of Fire
A powerful and potent play about family, money & morality.” Charles Isherwood, New York Times

Family drama takes on new meaning in this excellent and timely revival. Baitz has a keen eye for generational drama. It's impossibr4le not to see echoes of the present in this timeless tale.” - Zachary Stewart, Theatermania.com (Off Broadway Revival)

Sharp, Lively and Insightful. A fiercely intelligent work about an unbridgeable gap between father and child.” Robert Feldberg, The Bergen Record

"A deeply compassionate play." Frank Rich, New York Times

"A remarkably intelligent drama." Jan Stuart, New York Newsday

The Film Society
"Graceful dialogue, lyrically flowing poetic soliloquies, an anthropologist's eye for detail and an awareness that people are too complicated for characters to be cut from whole, homogeneous cloth." - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Mr. Baitz’s writing is characteristically sparkling; it’s smart, funny and engaging throughout.” Jesse Oxfeld, New York Observer

"Using the school as a microcosm for South Africa, Baitz explores the psychological workings of repression in a society that has to kill its conscience in order to persist in a course of action it knows enough to abhor but cannot afford to relinquish." Mimi Kramer, The New Yorker

"What distinguishes Mr. Baitz' writing, aside from its manifest literacy, is its ability to embrace the ambiguities of political and moral dilemmas that might easily be reduced to blacks and whites." - Frank Rich, New York Times

"It's easy to imagine yourself in a London theater watching the kind of play that Americans just don't know how to write. Baitz is clearly one American who does." - Dan Sullivan, Los Angeles Times

The End of the Day
Bleak yet hilarious A field day for actors” Frank Rich, The New York Times



The Substance of Fire
“A powerful and potent play about family, money & morality.” –Charles Isherwood, New York Times

“Family drama takes on new meaning in this excellent and timely revival. Baitz has a keen eye for generational drama. It's impossibr4le not to see echoes of the present in this timeless tale.” - Zachary Stewart, Theatermania.com (Off Broadway Revival)

“Sharp, Lively and Insightful. A fiercely intelligent work about an unbridgeable gap between father and child.” –Robert Feldberg, The Bergen Record

"A deeply compassionate play." –Frank Rich, New York Times

"A remarkably intelligent drama." –Jan Stuart, New York Newsday

The Film Society
"Graceful dialogue, lyrically flowing poetic soliloquies, an anthropologist's eye for detail and an awareness that people are too complicated for characters to be cut from whole, homogeneous cloth." - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Mr. Baitz’s writing is characteristically sparkling; it’s smart, funny and engaging throughout.” – Jesse Oxfeld, New York Observer

"Using the school as a microcosm for South Africa, Baitz explores the psychological workings of repression in a society that has to kill its conscience in order to persist in a course of action it knows enough to abhor but cannot afford to relinquish." –Mimi Kramer, The New Yorker

"What distinguishes Mr. Baitz' writing, aside from its manifest literacy, is its ability to embrace the ambiguities of political and moral dilemmas that might easily be reduced to blacks and whites." - Frank Rich, New York Times

"It's easy to imagine yourself in a London theater watching the kind of play that Americans just don't know how to write. Baitz is clearly one American who does." - Dan Sullivan, Los Angeles Times

The End of the Day
“Bleak yet hilarious... A field day for actors” – Frank Rich, The New York Times

From Library Journal:

At the age of 31, Baitz is emerging as a powerful new voice in the world of contemporary drama. In this collection of three plays, The Film Society (1985), The Substance of Fire (1991), and The End of the Day (1992), Baitz explores "the decreasing power of the individual and the increasing responsibility of the individual." Settings range from a crumbling boys' school in South Africa to a New York publishing house and a Southern California clinic. In each play, we see how someone with ideals and moral convictions succumbs to the forces of a corrupt society. These are serious pieces, touched with scathing wit. A forthcoming film version of Substance of Fire should help stir demand. This book is recommended for drama collections.
- Howard E. Miller, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Missouri Lib., St. Louis
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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