by Douglas Messerli
Presumably anyone interested in theater is equally interested in theater's major medium, language. That does not presume, of course, an interest in "dead languages," the focus of the major character of Cho's play, George (Matt Letscher), who is a linguist-scholar devoted to archiving dying languages before they disappear—at the rate of every two weeks, if we can believe George. Beyond that, however, any playwright must ask, as does Cho, if those numerous
Cho does not have an easy answer; nor does she offer solutions for any of her figures. Resten and Alma fall back in love, but leave their beautiful language to fall into oblivion. George becomes determined to tell Mary that he loves her, but, after she has magically met up with a former-baker who has provided her with the perfect mother dough, she has opened her own small bakery, discovering a joyful new purpose to her life. Emma attempts to escape George as well; she, in an ever more miraculous encounter, meets up with the long dead creator of Esperanto, the Russian ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof, who examines her eyes, clouded by her love; she returns to Geroge, now recognizing what Mary has previously told the audience:
Sometimes you feel so sad, it begins to feel like happiness. And
you can be so happy that it starts to feel like grief.
Despite Mary's permanent absence, Emma never does develop a loving relationship with George, who continues to work alone, lost in the syntax of other people's lives.
New York, November 15, 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 by Douglas Messerli