Thursday, 6 October 2016

Julia Cho's The Language Archive

I think I heard about the local staging of Julia Cho's The Language Archive in passing and almost forgot to get a ticket, because it's by a new production company and it was a bit underpromoted up to a week ago. I was getting a bit tired of the Shakespeare productions happening this year, so this contemporary (2009 is pretty contemporary compared to Shakespeare) play was a refreshing option. 

If nothing else, this was an excuse for me to finally go to KuAsh Theatre in Taman Tun, where I had no real reason to before. I was told that there was on site parking, and then I saw the gravel-covered open air parking lot a short walk away from the theatre itself. What I wasn't told was having to practically drive the entire compound to get there. 

When I got there, Junji Delfino was selling slices of some of her cakes. If I wasn't having the PND related cough and/or have the spare change, I wouldn't mind. They were also selling bottled water (RM2), programmes (RM10) and t-shirts (RM35, I think?). Luckily I didn't have to wait long before the doors were open. 
George is a linguist, an expert at archiving dying languages of the world. But even he finds it impossible to say the right words to keep his wife, Mary, from leaving him. With her gone in search of happiness, George struggles to record the words of Alta and Resten, the last two speakers of a rare language as they refuse to utter a word to each other. In this, his loyal archival assistant, Emma keeps silent about her love for him. A quirky imaginative comedy, The Language Archive asks if language is really enough for us to understand to each other.
Directed by Ghafir Akbar, this production has a star studded cast going for it: Gavin Yap, Anitha Abdul Hamid, Farah Rani, with Zahim Albakri and Sukania Venugopal. 

As tough as Gavin had playing George the linguist, but I would have to give props to Zahim Albakri and Sukania Venugopal for not only playing Alta and Resten, but also (between them) the minor characters like Emma's language instructor, the men on the railway platform (imagined or otherwise) that the characters meet, random passersby, etc. 

If nothing else, it was not a bad way to kill a couple of hours. 
  • I'm glad that the play didn't start on "Malaysian 8.30 p.m." (aka 8.45 p.m.), but it did start at 8.40 p.m and ended at 11 p.m. 
  • I was seated so close to the front (second row), that I could see the neon tape on the floor where people are supposed to stand for lighting purposes. But not so close I don't see flying spit.
  • Admittedly, some might balk at the ticket price, but for this cast it's a price I don't mind paying. 
  • The 15 (more like 20) minute intermission came at the hour-and-change mark, which some people might find a little long to wait. 
  • There's also a brief Esperanto lesson after the intermission, which the rest of the audience didn't catch on at first. 
  • A first for me as a theatre-goer: I was seated next to this new mum and her infant for about half an hour before the baby started making too much noise five minutes into the first act and stepped out for the rest of the show. 
  • I was wondering why was there the smell of toast (which some say is a sign of a heart attack or something)... I totally didn't put the bread cart and the smell of baking bread together until much later. 
  • I wonder what's gonna happen to all those cardboard boxes afterwards...? 
Tickets are RM 75 and RM 95 and the run is nightly this week from Wednesday to Sunday, as well as matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday. I think you can still get tickets either online at AirAsia Red Tix, outlets like Rock Corner and Victoria Music and also at the door before the show.