Elsa is a primatologist with a secret that’s easier to bear when she’s at work with Wookie, the orangutan she’s training to speak. Her worlds collide when her nephew AJ, a teenager who is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, forms a relationship with Wookie. Sapience is a ground-breaking and imaginative new play about how we communicate and seek to be understood.
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Recommended by

  • Sarah Tuft:
    9 Mar. 2022
    With the deft touch of an expert dramatist, Burbano explores questions of who we are and what makes us human in a journey that’s both wrenching and compassionate but always entertaining. SAPIENCE offers an empathetic look into the immigrant experience, the experience of being neurodivergent, the experience of facing one's mortality, and through Wookie, the experience of never being understood - one every human person knows all too well. Mostly, this beautiful play is about love…
  • Jessie Salsbury:
    19 Feb. 2022
    I had the privilege of watching Sapience virtually as a production with the Moxie Theatre. This is a beautiful play that addresses language, communication, love and grief with such care and grace. I hope that this play is performed across the country as it deserves every success and award. Brava.
  • Julia Toney:
    24 Nov. 2021
    Sapience traverses the desire to connect and the obstacles we must overcome in order to communicate effectively. Burbano brings neurodivergence onstage in such a brilliantly fleshed-out and truthful manner. I immensely enjoyed Elsa's well-drawn character as well as scenes between Wookie and A.J. as they utilized language creatively and fearlessly to form a one-of-a-kind bond.

Character Information

  • Elsa
    A primatologist. Latinx. On the neuronormative end of the autism spectrum.
  • Wookie
    Any female/femme-identifying
    An orangutan. Probably a sweet young redheaded woman.
  • Miri
    Elsa's cousin. A Latinx immigrant. Smart, fun and astute. Her hair is dyed in rainbow colors. Bilingual Spanish/English. 30's
  • AJ
    12-14. A young teen on the autism spectrum. Non verbal except with Wookie M or F
  • Jason
    A primatologist. Boyish Gen-Xer. Charming.

Development History

Production History

  • Professional
    MOXIE Theatre