What You Should Watch This Weekend: The Language Archive

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It’s intermission on the opening night of The Language Archive and I’m escaping a freezing auditorium for some much needed KL heat outside when a girlfriend grabs my arm and mock-whispers “Oh my god, this play is totally about me!”

The particular charm about The Language Archive written by Asian-American Julia Cho and originally staged in 2009, is that everyone hears and sees themselves written in the script, playing a role on stage. The audience comes away narrating their own stories and celebrating his or her own relationship comedy-tragedy-myths. It’s about the mutable nature of love, the exploration of the inadequacy of language and how poetically what often gets lost in translation is not the fracturing of communication between languages but that between persons.

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Photography by Shireen Zainudin-Lowe

The play is melancholic and farcical, bittersweet and life-affirming. There is a universal appeal about the 5 central characters played so winningly by Gavin Yap as George, the language expert who fails to conjugate the verbs of relationship articulation; Anitha Abdul Hamid who finally waxes lyrical by expressing through baking; Farah Rani who is just adorably tongue-tied; alongside scene-stealing veterans Zahim Albakri and Sukania Venugopal, only verbalising love in a fictional language. Their humour, their foibles, their partings, their rapprochements, their aspirations are all hauntingly unveiled by the superb direction of Ghafir Akbar who understands his audience and the very human need for hope.

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The Language Archive is playing at the KuAsh Theatre, Pusat Kreatif Kanak-Kanak, Tuanku Bainun, TTDI til Sunday 9th October. Tickets are priced at RM75 & RM95 and are still available at the door.