fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

The Language Archive

I also did a brief theatre excursion on my way home from New York on Sunday. I checked my bag at the Amtrak parcel check and went to see Roundabout Theatre's production of The Language Archive. This is a straight (i.e. non-musical) play about a linguist, George, who specializes in recording dying languages. His wife, Mary, cries all the time and leaves cryptic poetic notes around their house, before announcing that she is leaving him. His assistant, Emma, is secretly in love with him. Then there are Alta and Resten, the last speakers of a fictional language called Elloway. The catch is that they won't speak Elloway because it is a language for love, not for the bickering they are engaging in.

Aside from my interest in dying languages, I really enjoyed the quirky comedy in this play. It's character-based humor, rather than situation-based, with an underlying message about how people do and don't communicate. The ending (which I won't reveal here) was surprising and, on reflection, I think that was a good thing as it avoided either of the two obvious ways it could have gone.

As for the performances, this was a fine ensemble cast. I thought Heide Schreck, as Mary, was particularly effective. My one quibble has to do with costumes. Why on earth do George and Emma wear lab coats when they are recording the speakers?
Tags: theatre

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