Occidental College composer and professor Bruno Louchouarn composed the score and sound design for the award-winning play “The Language Archive,” which will be performed November 3-December 4 at Los Angeles’ Union Center for the Arts by an all-Asian-American cast.
The East West Players, the nation’s longest-running theater of color, will give the Los Angeles premier of “The Language Archive,” which was written by Korean-American and native Angeleno Julia Cho. The comedy-drama tells the story of George, a brilliant linguist who finds himself at a loss for words when he learns his wife is leaving him. In fact, he seems more concerned with preserving and documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures than cultivating relationships with friends and family.
One of his projects is collecting and recording the phrase, “I love you” in dozens of little-known languages. Louchouarn, an adjunct associate professor of digital media and director of the College’s Keck Language and Culture Studio, weaves audio recordings of that phrase throughout the play.
In addition, he uses “tonal, angular” piano arpeggios (the sounds of a chord played in succession rather than simultaneously) to underscore George’s emotional aloofness. In contrast, he employs the undulating, fluid sounds of bells and marimba to support two other characters, Alta and Resten, the last speakers of Ellowan, an imaginary language. A theme played by violinist Alyssa Park, which is filled with warm sonorities and at times humor, underlines the emotional transformations in the play.
“The Language Archive” is part of the East West Players’ “Languages of Love” 2011-2012 season. Jessica Kubzansky, one of the founding directors of Pasadena’s Theater @ Boston Court, directs the Los Angeles production, which runs November 3-December 4 at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo district.
Tickets are available here or by calling (213) 625-7000. Student and senior discounts are available. In addition, November 3-6 preview performances are priced at $20 general admission, and $12 for students with I.D.
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