Arts & Events

Around & About Theater: Last Performances of Symmetry Theatre's 'The Language Archive'

By Ken Bullock
Friday April 26, 2013 - 01:56:00 PM

Symmetry Theatre's engaging show at the Berkeley City Club, 'The Language Archive,' is going into its last weekend. A romantic fantasy that doesn't take its own metaphors too seriously, Julia Cho's play makes the funny juxtapositions of a researcher into dying languages (Gabriel Grilli) whose wife (Elena Wright) leaves him over his diffidence while he's monitoring a rustic ethnic couple (troupers Howard Swain and Stacy Ross) who speak the endangered tongue--but argue fiercely in English--as well as the researcher's lovestruck assistant (Danielle Levin), an Esperanto teacher-cum-kind of therapist (Ross again) and a familiar face in a bakery ... It's by turns charming, hilarious, offhandedly touching.  

Symmetry founder Chloe Bronzan directs her ensemble well, with particularly fine comic characterization by Swain--his bluff but wily peasant gives the whole thing a kind of turning-the-tables edginess that help to dismiss the preciosity most plays that toy with language and love, trying to throw together an ersatz poetry, get hung up on. As 'The Language Archive' unfolds, it manages paradoxically to draw the audience deeper into its ineffable world with its funny over-the-top dialogue--and a hint of wistfulness for what maybe has never been in the spaces between words. Friday-Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2, 2315 Durant. $20-$28. (415) 377-0457;