The following article appeared today in TDF Stages, the online magazine of the Theatre Development Fund you should be checking regularly. You can read it there or below!
20 years later, Jon Robin Baitz’s The Substance of Fire seems eerily prescient about America
When Jon Robin Baitz sat down in 1991 to write a play about the demise of books and printing, he likely had no idea just how prescient he was. In 2014, however, The Substance of Fire seems remarkably accurate.
Second Stage’s current revival of Baitz’s drama, which charts the personal and professional earthquakes rocking a family-owned publishing company, reminds us how much we’ve changed. “When this play was first produced, the world was a very different place,” says Trip Cullman, who’s directing the revival. “The first act foretells the death of the written word as an art form in our society, and I feel like now, in 2014, we are already there. Because it’s set in 1991, this story feels like a warning, and now we have seen all the anxieties of the play bear out as truths. It feels like a relic of an era that very much influences our era.”