Julia Cho’s quirky and moving comedy about love and language comes to Park Square May 8 – 31
Kurt Kwan stars as a skilled linguist who can’t find the right words
ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 31, 2015) — Park Square continues its 40th season with Julia Cho’s THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE. George (Kurt Kwan*) speaks a dozen languages, but he can’t communicate with his wife, Mary. Consumed by his quest to document the dying languages of disappearing cultures, George is unable to say what he needs to say so Mary sets off for a new adventure. THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE is a magical and quirky fable about finding the words that can change your world. Talkin’ Broadway called it “…a tour de force… passionate, wise and wonderful.”
Director Rick Shiomi believes this play “is a classic tale of a man who can’t understand love and a woman who finds a new love for herself. Done with magical realism and everyday angst, Julia Cho has created this beautiful play that brings us the joy and pain of love with hilarious bickering, touching truth and wonderful irony.”
George is consumed with documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures. But closer to home, language is failing the linguist. George can’t speak to his wife (Sarah Ochs) without lapsing into academic babble — even as she has one foot out the door. When George tries to bury himself in work, his attempt to preserve the language of the last two Ellowans on the planet is thwarted by a husband and wife who can’t get along. Cho’s play is a fanciful quest to say what needs to be said, in whatever language.
Emily A. Grodzik joins the cast as George’s lovelorn assistant, and Robert Gardner and Melanie Wehrmacher play multiple ensemble roles.Twin Cities favorites Richard Ooms* and Claudia Wilkens* are featured as the feisty last two Ellowans on earth.
In an interview with the Village Voice in 2010, Julia Cho, who grew up in a Korean-speaking home but never learned the language, confessed, “It’s a huge source of regret and guilt that I don’t speak Korean.” News reports have appeared over the past decade documenting the extinction of languages; some experts estimate that one language dies every other week. The connection between language and identity inspired Cho’s play, an exploration of how we see ourselves and one another when communication becomes impossible. THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE received the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which honors the best new play by a woman in English.
The production team for THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE includes A. Emily Heaney (Costume Designer), Joseph Stanley (Set Designer), andMichael P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), Andrew Mayer (Sound Design) and Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer).
THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE Performance Schedule: Previews begin Friday, May 8, and run through May 14. May 15 is Opening Night, and the run continues through May 31. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. except for matinee performances, which begin at 2 p.m. All performances are in the company’s 348-seat proscenium stage in Saint Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place.
Ticket prices: Previews: $27 and $37. Regular Run: $40 and $60. Discounts are available for seniors, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square box office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), or online atwww.parksquaretheatre.org.
*Member, Actors Equity Association
Previews: May 8-14
Regular Run: May 15-31
Tickets: Previews: $27/$37; 99¢ Night on May 12; Regular Run: $40/$60
PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul
|May||8 P7:30pm$27 & $37||9 P7:30pm$27 & 37|
|10 P2:00pm$27 & $37||12 B7:30pm||13 P/D7:30pm$27 & $37||14 P7:30pm$27 & $37||15 O7:30pm$40 & $60||167:30pm$40 & $60|
|172:00pm$40 & $60||217:30pm$40 & $60||227:30pm$40 & $60||237:30pm$40 & $60|
|24 D2:00pm$40 & $60||287:30pm$40 & $60||29 AD7:30pm$40 & $60||30 C7:30pm$40 & $60|
|31 C2:00pm$40 & $60|
P: Preview O: Opening B: 99¢ Preview (no advance sales) AD: Audio Description D: Post-show Discussion
C: Open Captioning Call for ASL: American Sign Language Interpretation