The language of love: Theater By the Book tackles the complexity of language with ‘The Language Archive’ at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City |

The language of love: Theater By the Book tackles the complexity of language with ‘The Language Archive’ at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City

John Watson and Sandra Rockman play two of the five people whose lives are imaginatiely woven together as they discover no matter how many words they speak, it's the heart's language that matters most.
Submitted photo to Prospector


WHO: Sierra Stages and Miners Foundry Cultural Center present Theater By the Book: “The Language Archive”

WHEN: Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $10 suggested donation. Tickets are available online at, by phone 530-265-5040, in person at the Miners Foundry, or at the door.


On Wednesday, May 16, Sierra Stages and the Miners Foundry will present, “The Language Archive,” as part of Theater By the Book, a series of informal play readings for the community.

Written by award-winning playwright Julia Cho and directed by Leslie Ann Rivers, “The Language Archive” is a quirky, but ravishingly well-written play that tackles the complexities of language onstage; specifically the most universal language of all: the language of love.

“Julia Cho’s writing is very articulate, but what I love most about her writing are those moments when the play’s humor sneaks up on me and hits my funny bone to the point where I laugh out loud,” said Rivers.

Helping to provide the laughs is an all-star cast of local thespians including Brian Arnold, Janet Rossman, Tracie Nickle, Sandra Rockman and John Watson, who play five people whose lives are imaginatively woven together as they discover that no matter how many words they can speak, it’s the heart’s language that matters most.

“The Language Archive” is the name for George’s library that stores tapes of dead languages. The play begins with a look into the intricacies of Mary and George’s marriage and Mary’s struggle to communicate with her husband, who is stilted emotionally and seemingly unaware of her deep suffering.

George, a brilliant linguist who archives dying languages, is lost in his work and oblivious to the reality of his own marriage and the ‘reality’ around him. His assistant, Emma, is in love with her boss and manages to hide her affections, since “if he were going to fall in love with me he would’ve done it by now.”

In the midst of all these heart-felt struggles between the three main characters, the mood of the play shifts with the arrival of Alta and Resten, the last two living speakers of the Elloway language, which is on the brink of extinction.

“There’s a theory that all literature and drama boils down to sex and death — love might be more elevated, perhaps, than sex, but in the end, it all comes down to the same roots, whether it’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ ‘Othello’ or ‘Chicago,’” said Rivers. “It’s what makes us human.”

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