Savage/Love | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


SAVAGE/LOVE, Moving Dock Theatre Company and Clock Productions, at the National Pastime Theater. A collaboration between Sam Shepard and Open Theater founder Joseph Chaikin, this 1979 collection of short poetic monologues (originally performed solo by Chaikin) is skillfully reimagined by director Dawn Arnold as a choreo-poem for an ensemble of seven.

The script holds up fairly well as a meditation on the inchoate nature of longing, jealousy, and romantic fixations. Arnold's interpolations (including the witty lip-synching of dialogue between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic and other updated pop cultural references) blow some of the dust off the self-conscious Me Decade language. And the ensemble's physical work is admirably synchronized, subtle, and persuasive--particularly in a segment where they play commuters on a bumpy bus ride. Arnold's decision to cast six women and one man gives a different perspective to some of the pieces. In "Babble (I)" and "Babble (II)," in which a stammering lover tries desperately to explain herself, we see that the inability to discuss one's feelings isn't an exclusively male problem.

The constant changes in wardrobe (assembled by Tiffany Liveris from the Betsey Johnson line) are eye-catching but tend to distract from the text by the evening's end, and the cast lapse into rote recitations and gestures from time to time. But the show does remind us that, for all the bloat of Shepard's more recent efforts, he can create touching gems in miniature.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
July 15
Performing Arts
Henchpeople Jarvis Square Theater
July 09

Popular Stories