Deafman Glance

1981, 26:53 min, color, sound

This haunting work for television has been excerpted and adapted from Wilson's five-hour "silent opera" of the same title. Wilson tells a stark and stylized story of murder, using time and space, light and movement, and isolated sound in place of spoken words. The ritualistic action, which moves from a spartan kitchen through the silent halls, stairways and rooms of a lonely house, is both dreamlike and sinister. A somber, menacing woman washes white dishes and a gleaming carving knife, pours milk into a glass, and then slowly attacks first one young boy and then another. Not a word of dialogue is uttered. Suggesting the disparate worlds of both ancient Greek tragedy and contemporary tabloid headlines, Deafman Glance harbors paradox: The events are terrifying but not violent; characters are both real and symbols of reality; pacing reduces action to abstraction; and morality and mortality are ambiguous.

Lighting: Danny Franks. Produced by Byrd Hoffman Foundation. Executive Producer: Lois Bianchi. With: Sheryl Sutton, Jerry Jackson. Rafael Carmona.