Body Awareness

by Annie Baker
directed by Anne Kauffman
January 4, 2012February 5, 2012



Traits of Asperger's Syndrome

Concerned that her son Jared may have Asperger’s Syndrome, Joyce gives him a book – Tony Attwood’s Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals – to read. Attwood, who has operated a clinical practice in Australia for those with Asperger’s since 1992, is one of the world’s foremost experts on the disorder. Below is a quick guide to Attwood’s “Australian Scale for Asperger’s Sydrome,” which aids in diagnosing the disorder. However, Attwood notes that there is no universally agreed upon set of traits. Body Awareness purposefully avoids indicating a diagnosis in either direction for Jared.

Here is a quick guide with traits of Asperger’s Syndrome.


Interview with director Anne Kauffman

Walter Bilderback: It's great to have you back at the Wilma. You've been busy since you were here last, and have been gathering great reviews for your work. You're working with Mimi Lien, who designed Becky Shaw, again on the set design: what challenges did Body Awareness pose design-wise? What does Mimi bring to the table?

Anne Kauffman:
I'm THRILLED to be back at the Wilma again and so happy that Mimi is once again collaborating with me. I love working with Mimi because she and I are both interested in theatricalizing, or perhaps abstracting realism. We had a very interesting process on Body Awareness. Since the playwright tells us in the script that all three spaces exist simultaneously, Mimi and I asked ourselves "why" and "what does it mean?" We went through a couple of ideas where we threw out the directive from the playwright, and then found our way back to it. We discovered as we started to dig in that as the play progresses, the characters are like bees bringing experience and knowledge from one space, and sort of pollinating as we watch them traverse and live in each location, we watch them bring work home to the kitchen, or the bedroom, and conversely what happens in the bedroom, makes its way back to


Interview with Playwright Annie Baker

by Walter Bilderback

Walter Bilderback: My experience encountering each of your plays for the first time is that nothing much is happening to relatively ordinary people, and then sometime near the end I find myself thinking “Holy Cow! Something huge has happened without me noticing it.” You’ve said that dialogue and pace are overly-stressed in a lot of new plays. Can you talk a little about this?

Annie Baker: Oh good. That’s a huge compliment, Walter. Thank you. Yes, I feel like a lot of contemporary plays are trying to compete with film and TV, which is always a terrible idea. If you try to play their game, film and TV will beat you every time. The plays I’m talking about are fast-paced, “realistic,” take place in a zillion different locations, and have a lot of big sitcom-y laughs. I think Body Awareness is representative of my transition out of that kind of writing and into something else. I do think it has some film and TV residue on it, but it’s trying to shake it off.