Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin collaborated over a three-week period to produce a series of 19 poems on love titled “Savage/Love.” They have mined in simple, elegant poems what is lost and what is gained by love. The poems traverse the vastness of the subject, sometimes void of sentiment and sometimes tender: the innocence of a first encounter; the intimacy of an early romance; the delusions; the inability to communicate; the endearments of affection; the savageness of being soul-robbed; our grasping and need for partners. Jerry Mouawad, Artistic Co-Director, sets the play in a bedroom suite in which a cast of 10 performers explore the poems, interpreted with text, dance, physical theatre and song.
Joseph Chaikin was an American stage director, actor, and writer. He was a member of the Living Theatre before founding the Open Theatre (1963), which became an influential force in experimental theatre. His celebrated productions, the results of intense collaboration between writer, director, and actors, included America Hurrah (1966), The Serpent (1969), Terminal (1970), The Mutation Show (1971), and Nightwalk (1973). He published his ideas about theatre in The Presence of the Actor (1972). He later collaborated with Sam Shepard on a number of plays, including The War in Heaven (1984) and When the World Was Green (1996). In 1977, he received the first lifetime-achievement Obie Award. He was the subject of the documentary film The Presence of Joseph Chaikin (2008).
Sam Shepard ranks as one of America's most celebrated dramatists. He has written nearly 50 plays and has seen his work produced across the nation, in venues ranging from Greenwich Village coffee shops to regional professional and community theatres, from college campuses to commercial Broadway houses. His plays are regularly anthologized, and theatre professors teach Sam Shepard as a canonical American author. Outside of his stage work, he has achieved fame as an actor, writer, and director in the film industry. Sam Shepard has gained the critical regard, media attention, and iconic status enjoyed by only a rare few in American theatre. Throughout his career Shepard has amassed numerous grants, prizes, fellowships, and awards, including the Cannes Palme d'Or and the Pulitzer Prize. He has received abundant popular praise and critical adulation. While the assessment of Shepard's standing may evidence occasional hyperbole, there can be little doubt that he has spoken in a compelling way to American theatre audiences, and that his plays have found deep resonance in the nation's cultural imagination.