Stark Naked Theatre Company opens its 2nd season with the Houston premiere of Body Awareness, a relevant and thought-provoking comedy written by two-time Obie Award-winning author Annie Baker and directed by acclaimed Houston actor/director Philip Lehl. Nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play/Emerging Playwright), Body Awareness explores the question of who is the toughest critic of a woman's appearance: men, society, or women, themselves?
Previewing October 25th, opening October 26th and running until November 10th, performances will be held Thursdays through Sundays (with a special "Pay What You Can" performance on November 5th) at STUDIO 101 located at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring St. in Houston, Texas.
Set in a college town in Vermont, the play centers on Joyce and Phyllis, two women struggling to raise a son who may, or may not, have Asperger's Syndrome. The tension and ensuing fallout created by a houseguest (whose nude photos of women feature prominently in a "Body Awareness" symposium organized by Phyllis) expose the characters' insecurities and insensibilities, with potentially heartbreaking results. Under Lehl's direction, Stark Naked Theatre's production of Body Awareness features a talented ensemble cast comprised of Kim Tobin, Pamela Vogel, Drake Simpson, and Matt Lents. The play re-unites Lehl, Tobin and Simpson, who most recently appeared onstage together under the direction of Kevin Holden in Stark Naked's most recent offering, Dinner with Friends.
Body Awareness was the first play written by critically acclaimed and award-winning playwright Annie Baker, who burst onto the New York theatre scene in 2008 with the Atlantic Theatre Company's production of the play. Immediately hailed by the New York Times as "an engaging new comedy," Body Awareness was aptly described by Time Out New York as a play about "ordinary, flawed people, grasping for connection, but none of it feels small, thanks to Baker's sharp ear for the deeply painful and funny longings squirming under her characters' dialogue." In addition to Body Awareness, Baker's other full-length plays include: the highly acclaimed Circle Mirror Transformation (which received a Drama Desk nomination for Best play and won three Obie Awards, including Best New American Play), The Aliens (which also won the Obie Award for Best New American Play), and the world premiere of her adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, which performed to rave reviews and capacity crowds this summer at Soho Rep in New York City.
To further explore the highly relevant themes of Baker's first play, Stark Naked Theatre Company is proud to sponsor the Body Awareness art exhibition which combines live theatre with an equally powerful visual arts experience. Marking an exciting collaboration with talented local visual artists, and developed in coordination with award-winning Houston-based artist Dianne Webb (who also serves as Stark Naked's in-house Art Coordinator), the exhibit will be available for viewing one hour in advance of each performance show time (with admission complimentary for all theatre ticket holders). From abstract to representational--and featuring photography, watercolors and many other media--this thought-provoking exhibit presents the featured artists' vision, concept, and interpretation of the female form.
The Houston premiere of Annie Baker's Body Awareness, presented by Stark Naked Theatre Company and directed by Philip Lehl, begins with a preview on October 25th and opens on October 26th. Performances will be held through November 10th at STUDIO 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring St., Houston, Texas. The corresponding Body Awareness art exhibit is available for viewing one hour in advance of each performance. Regular show times are as follows: Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm, and a special "Pay What You Can" performance scheduled on Monday, November 5th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets (priced at $20 for general admission, $17 for seniors and $10 for students) are available for purchase at www.starknakedtheatre.com or by phone at 832.866.6514. For group sales and special pricing, call 832.265.5931.
Cast and Creative Team of Body Awareness, as presented by Stark Naked Theatre Company: Annie Baker (Playwright) is an Obie Award-winning playwright and teacher. Her full-length plays include Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Aliens (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Obie Award for Best New American Play), Body Awareness (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright), a modern adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (world premiere at Soho Rep, June 2012) and The Flick (upcoming at Playwrights Horizons in 2013). Her plays have been produced regionally at South Coast Rep, the Guthrie, Victory Gardens, Artists Rep, Huntington Theater Company, Seattle Rep, Studio Theatre in DC, Hyde Park Theatre, Kansas City Rep, the San Francisco Playhouse, and over 100 other theaters in the U.S. and abroad. Recent honors include a residency at the Signature Theatre, a United States Artists Fellowship, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Lilly Award, a Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, and a Master Artist Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. An anthology of her work entitled The Vermont Plays, was published by the Theatre Communications Group in May 2012.