Romance, Betrayal and Mystery


Written in 1996 by Andrew Bovell, Speaking in Tongues examines the impact we have on our loved ones. AE's Katerina Sushko reviews DMV Theatre's recent production of the play in Halifax.

From the beginning, the audience is captivated by a simple yet charming set up: Flirty mood and a sense of ‘exploring unknown waters’. We see two couples, each of them in a hotel room. There is a hint of betrayal and soon it becomes clear that the couples unknowingly crossed each other’s paths and are about to cheat on their spouses with each other.

As we see these married couples navigating a rocky area of betrayal and forgiveness, it becomes clear that while any relationship is not perfect, there are big differences in how couples approach difficult situations. Besides, characters are called to speak up and reveal their true feelings. Results of such revelations turn out to be quite different for each couple and lead the audience to contemplate on what is really behind a desire to cheat on one’s partner.

The second act presents two other relationship stories and gives us a chance to observe a painful intensity of the marriage where one partner is not leaving because of sympathy and guilt. As a contrast to married couples, we are introduced to a woman who goes through her life having very little concern for other people’s feelings, not wanting to commit to a serious relationship and unintentionally ruining lives of other. However, she is dealing with her own struggles and this is a beauty of this play: Without pointing out who is “good” or “bad”, it reveals a unique perspective of each character letting us explore their dreams and deepest secrets. We are also reminded that hiding the truth can sometimes lead to disastrous situations that end up being worse than just breaking up.

“Speaking in Tongues” is a true masterpiece that combines romance and mystery with a touch of a crime novel and shows that sometimes we need more than just a daisy to tell if someone “loves me” or “loves me not”.