(Charles McNulty's article appeared in the Los Angeles Times, April 4.)
Language and love are the twin themes of Julia Cho’s “The Language Archive,” a loopy excursion into the difficulty of finding words for what lies in our hearts. The play, which is receiving its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, is so emotionally attuned to our diversionary palaver that Cho might have considered borrowing the title of one of Raymond Carver’s most famous short stories: “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”
George (Leo Marks), a brilliant linguist who has devoted himself to archiving dying languages, is ironically plagued by communication problems at home. His wife, Mary (Betsy Brandt), leaves cryptic messages for him, a troubling development given the way she keeps bursting into tears while washing the dishes. He can’t understand the grammar of her sorrow and his obtuse academic babbling only inflames her unhappiness. To make her disappointment in their relationship crystal clear, she walks out on him.
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