This book explores the political, social, and historical implications of staged language. ""Speaking in Tongues"" presents a unique account of how language has been employed in the theater not simply as a means of communication, but as a stylistic device essential to theater's function. The book investigates the various 'levels' of language and their respective social implications; looks at a range of examples of multiple-language and multiple-dialect theater, from classical Greece to the postmodern era; addresses issues of language in the postcolonial world; and considers modern language play and the layering of languages in the theater, such as with supertitles or simultaneous signing. ""Speaking in Tongues"" draws important social and political conclusions about the role of language in cultural power, making a vital contribution to the fields of theater and performance.
Marvin Carlson is Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His best-known book, Theories of the Theatre, has been translated into seven languages. His book The Haunted Stage won the Callaway Prize.