Friday, September 5, 2014

The Language Archive

Background music: "You say gramophone, I say phonograph..." (sung, oddly, and out of whack, to the tune of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" from Shall We Dance. Shall we?) Yes, I'm still obsessed with The Language Archive, because we open next week! This book art by Malena Valcarcel (who has an Etsy shop!) is like an area on the set, complete with gramophone!

I was so tickled that set designer Kenneth Johnson and interim artistic director Julie Kistler were on board with my request for a "Victrola"--a brand name that became a generic term for the phonographs of the time with the big floral horn delivering the sound! We will have a gramophone! Not exactly this one, but a sweet one. Joy & gratitude.

We will also have other sound delivery systems and cool sound effects, thanks to Chris Stucky, sound designer, who is also an actor in the play! We have a loverly collaborative bunch of coconuts working on this production, including J. Michael Grey as props master and L.L. Zamenhof, plus Nancy Nickerson as costumer and Alta, who comes from far away to share her language, Elloway!

She and her husband, Resten, played by Mark de Veer, come to be recorded by George, played by Bruce E. Clark, for his language archive, a repository of the languages of the world. George is having a bit of trouble with his wife, Mary, played by Devon Lovell, who is leaving him cryptic notes, and, well, just leaving him....! And now Alta and Resten are having a bit of trouble, too! What's a language archivist to do?

Fortunately, George has a capable assistant, Emma, played with sweet honesty by Michelle Kaiden, who is learning Esperanto, one of George's many languages, perhaps his favorite, from a German language instructor, played as a diva by Vanessa Houssian, who is, actually, an opera singer! It's all so much fun.

And it will all be beautifully lit by Anita McDaniel! And meticulously stage managed by Matthew Harter. And vocally coached by Connie de Veer! My thanks to all who are making this such a lovely experience at Heartland Theatre Company!!

Come see it.

1 comment:

seana graham said...

Those gramophones are beautiful.