A tour-de-force synthesis of theater and video, Tongues is the collective title of a two-part collaboration by Shirley Clarke, distinguished actor/director Joseph Chaikin, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard. Both one-act monologues integrate the distinctive styles of these three artists: Shepard's innovative, stream-of-consciousness language; Chaikin's kinetic and exacting performance, which unifies the pieces; and Clarke's dynamic, expressive choreography of image, sound and text. The cadences and inflections of Shepard's jazz-related narrative voice and Chaikin's dramatic expression of a multitude of personalities are heightened by Clarke's syncopated use of digital effects, slow motion, and editing techniques to distort and manipulate the image.
In describing one man's quest for love, Savage/Love mirrors the search for romantic attachment, from infatuation to insecurity and disillusionment. With its propulsive romantic quest, Savage/Love is a prelude to Tongues, in which a dying man delivers his own last rites. As Chaikin enacts the man's fantasies and recollections, Clarke parallels the narrative and emotional intensity of his performance. Through her ingenious camera work, precise editing, and imaginative use of electronic imaging, Clarke powerfully transforms these stage pieces into resonant video drama.
Editors: Shirley Clarke, Steven E. Browne. Camera: Walter Edel, Michel Auder. Music: Sam Shepard, Skip LaPlante. Music Performers: Sam Shepard, Harry Mann. Executive Producers: Women's Interart Center, Inc. Produced by the Other Theatre.