Can ‘Burnpile’ Start a Fire?

Kristi AvilaA&E, TheatreLeave a Comment

Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Rehearsals have begun for the world premiere of “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up,” written and performed by the Oscar-nominated Lucy Alibar (Best Adapted Screenplay for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”).

“Throw Me on the Burnpile…” begins previews Saturday, Sept 10, and opens Friday, Sept. 10, and continues through Oct. 2, at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City.

Directed by Center Theatre Group Associate Artistic Director Neel Keller, “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” blends a lecherous goat, Pentecostals on the radio, a clutter of inbred cats, phone calls from death row, Daddy’s burnpile and countless other rich ingredients into a delicious and magical stew of stories about a singular childhood in Grady County, FL.

The design team for “Throw Me on the Burnpile…” includes Takeshi Kata for scenic design, Laura Bauer for costumes, Elizabeth Harper for lighting, Adam Phalen for sound and Jason H. Thompson for projection design. The production stage manager is Maggie Swing.

Alibar has authored work that has appeared in Zoetrope, the Oxford American, and The Wall Street Journal. Her plays have been seen at Sundance Theatre Lab, National Theatre Studio, Joe’s Pub, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Her first movie, “Beasts of the Southern Wild (an adaptation with Benh Zeitlin of her play, “Juicy and Delicious”), received the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Film Festival Caméra d’Or. For her work on “Beasts,” she was
nominated for the Scripter, BAFTA and Academy Award.

Alibar is the winner of the Ray Bradbury Nebula Award, the Humanitas Prize and the Nantucket Film Festival New Voices in Screenwriting Award. She is a Sundance Screen writing Fellow. She’s since  worked for Pixar, Escape Artists/Amazon, Julia Roberts/New Line Cinema and Guillermo del Toro/Universal Studios (“The Secret Garden”).

“Burnpile” is currently being adapted into a pilot for FX.

Alibar is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, associate editor at Oxford American and an advocate for girls in the arts.

“Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” was developed by Center Theatre Group and was presented as a work in progress at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2015 as part of Center Theatre Group’s DouglasPlus program.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’s leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Tickets for “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” are available by calling 213.628.2772 or online at

Tickets range from $25 – $70.

The Douglas Theatre is at 9820 Washington Blvd.

Ms. Avila may be contacted at

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