The Language Archive: Resources for the press

By Julia Cho. Directed by Virginia Drake.
May 29-June 29, 2014: Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2. (No matinee June 1.)
High-res publicity photos (via Flickr)

The Language Archive_Kendall Callaghan_Jeffrey Bracco

Emma (Kendall Callaghan) tries to comfort her boss George (Jeffrey Bracco). Photos by Mike Ko.

Why your readers will want to see The Language Archive

Because it’s a universal story about how everyone wants, more than anything, to be understood.
Because it takes you somewhere you’ve probably never been: a lab of cool equipment where linguists try to save rare languages.
Because you’ll learn how to bake bread.
Because you’ll hear actors speaking Esperanto. How often does that happen?
Because critics have called it “poignant,” “energetic,” “smart,” “sweetly funny” and “slapstick,” and it’s pretty impressive when something is all these things at once.

The Language Archive_Ben Ortega_Deb Anderson

Resten (Ben Ortega) and Alta (Deb Anderson) share a moment.

SAN JOSE, CA (May 5, 2014) – Fresh from its box-office success Amadeus, City Lights Theater Company brings another compelling production to its intimate downtown stage. Julia Cho’s comedy-drama The Language Archive is a poetic, poignant and humorous tale of language lost and found, about linguists trying to preserve dying languages even as they struggle to make themselves understood in their own lives. Directed by Virginia Drake, the play runs May 29 through June 29 at 529 S. Second St. in San Jose. For details and tickets, go to or call 408-295-4200.

George (Jeffrey Bracco) is a man lost for words. By day, he labors in his lab to document rare languages before their unique phrases and idioms fade away. At home, he can’t seem to communicate with his wife, Mary (Lisa Mallette), who suddenly announces she’s leaving. George is also blind to how his lab assistant, Emma (Kendall Callaghan), feels about him.

Meanwhile, in the lab are Alta (Deb Anderson) and Resten (Ben Ortega), the last two speakers of a dying tongue. George yearns to hear them speak in Elloway—but the couple won’t stop having arguments, which they will conduct only in English, “the language of anger.” As Resten puts it, “Say mean, hateful, ugly thing—this is what English is perfect for!”

Can these characters find the right words to say what’s in their hearts?

Playwright Julia Cho’s work has been produced at the Vineyard Theatre, The Public, Long Wharf Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, East West Players, Theatre @ Boston Court, and Silk Road Theatre Project, among others. The Language Archive had its world premiere in 2010 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California.

Virginia Drake (Director) holds an MFA in Drama (Acting) from Stanford University, a B.A. in Dramatic Art from U.C. Davis, and a secondary teaching credential from San Francisco State University. She recently retired from West Valley College, where she was a Theatre Arts instructor and director for 31 years, 12 of them as department chair. Her favorite directing projects include City Lights productions of The Smell of the Kill, Hedda Gabler, and First Day of School; her work at West Valley College on Great Expectations; and TheatreWorks’ A Walk in the Woods. Ms. Drake currently serves on the City Lights board of directors as Vice President.

Cast: Deb Anderson (Alta/Instructor/Passerby/Conductor), Jeffrey Bracco (George), Kendall Callaghan (Emma), Lisa Mallette* (Mary), Ben Ortega (Resten/Driver/Baker/Passerby/Zamenhof). *Ms. Mallette appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Designers: Ron Gasparinetti (Scenic), Jane Lambert (Costumes) Nick Kumamoto (Lighting), George Psarras (Sound and Original Music), Joan Summerfield (Props)

Sponsors and Supporters: Season sponsors include the Applied Materials Foundation, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates, and many other individuals, corporations and foundations. This production is sponsored in part by Pillsbury Law.


City Lights Theater Company’s production of Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, directed by Virginia Drake, is a poetic, poignant and humorous tale of language lost and found, about linguists trying to preserve languages even as they struggle to make themselves understood.

May 29-June 29, 2014.
Pay What You Can Night: Thursday, May 29, 8 p.m.
$17 Preview Night: Friday, May 30, 8 p.m.
Opening Night: Saturday, May 31, 8 p.m.
Regular showtimes: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. (beginning June 8)

City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose, CA 95112

Opening night: $35 general, $19 students/educators, seniors $30.
Other shows: $30 general ($32 on closing weekend, June 26-29); $17 students/educators ($19 on closing weekend); $25 seniors ($27 on closing weekend).
Buy online for no surcharge ($2 surcharge at the door).

For tickets or more information, go to or call 408-295-4200.

For press passes or additional information, contact City Lights marketing director Rebecca Wallace at or 408-295-4200. Downloadable high-res photos are available online at