The Language Archive is, naturally, all about dialogue.
The play, originally written by Julia Cho, will be coming to the Center for Dramatic Art on Oct. 11. Directed by Ashley Teague for the Kenan Theatre Company, the plot centers on George, a dedicated linguist whose life is turned upside down when his wife says she’s leaving him. What follows is a funny, often inspiring story that weaves together a large cast of side characters in scenes that rely heavily on witty conversation.
George, played by Jackson Campbell, is a great central character. Campbell portrays him as a neurotic, but sweet-natured man, and one who is clearly struggling with the recent changes in his life. It’s an endearing, funny performance that instantly makes you root for George, and Campbell excels at bouncing off of the other performers.
George’s practical and academic nature causes tension between him and his wife, Mary, played by Ash Heffernan. Heffernan delivers a soulful performance as a woman wondering if what she needs in life can only be found outside of her marriage. And even though we see her relationship with George in a time of extreme crisis, they clearly have shared a mutual love for many years. Their rich history being so immediately apparent is a testament to the performances, and Heffernan’s scenes with Campbell are awesome throughout.
Adding to the drama is Emma, played by Emma Scaggs. Emma, who works with George in his job as a linguist, seems unassuming at first, but she winds up having one of the play’s best arcs. Grappling with complex feelings for George, Emma breaks out of her “assistant” role and goes through a journey that fits in nicely with the play’s themes of self-discovery. Scaggs does a good job alternating between timidity and passion, and her great chemistry with Campbell gives the story a strong forward momentum.