The Kenan Theatre Company’s production of “The Language Archive” aims to illustrate the intricacies of human communication while honoring former UNC student Lillian Chason.
“The Language Archive” is set in a world that’s not quite our own, where languages are dying at a fast rate. The characters in the show come to the Language Archive to record their dying languages in the hopes of preserving their cultures and histories. “The Language Archive” discusses love, loss and the strengths and weaknesses of communication.
The production will be shown from Oct. 11 to 15.
“The play is about the failure of communication – the failure of language,” Ashley Teague, director of the production, said. “Especially when it comes to the heart.”
Teague said this idea of archiving dying languages is very real in our world today – about half of the world’s languages are projected to be dead within the next century. Characters in the show attempt to save their cultures while trying to save their own personal relationships.
“Because it touches on the idea of cultural specificity, you might take something different away – which I think is great, and which I think is the point of art,” Teague said. “It’s all about opening up the palate of human experiences and emotions."
David Navalinsky, director of undergraduate production at the Kenan Theatre Company, said that the students realize that the play is bigger than just them.
“They’re honoring someone else with this performance and this production,” he said.
Navalinsky said the show is especially timely because whether people are communicating through social media, texting or other mediums, communication is rapidly evolving.
“How we communicate is constantly changing,” Navalinsky said. “The more ways we figure out how to communicate, the more ways we’ll figure out how to miscommunicate, and this show looks at that in a really beautiful way.”
Nellie Wise, a UNC student, co-producer and props master, said the show is funny, sweet and allows the audience to think about how they treat the people around them.
“What I really love about this show is this sense of the complication of love – it’s not always so simple, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” Wise said. “It’s a really beautiful representation of that.”
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