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South Coast Repertory to premiere Julia Cho's drama 'The Language Archive'

November 13, 2009 |  5:30 am

JuliaChoChristineCotter The last slot in South Coast Repertory's season goes to "The Language Archive" by Julia Cho, which will have its world premiere March 26-April 25 on the Segerstrom Stage.

The drama concerns a linguist who runs up against the limitations of his chosen milieu, words, when he needs them most -- as his marriage unravels. The director is Mark Brokaw, whose credits include "After Miss Julie," an adaptation of August Strindberg's play that's now on Broadway; "Cry-Baby," the stage version of the John Waters film that premiered in 2007 at the La Jolla Playhouse and transferred to Broadway; the New York premiere of Paula Vogel's Pulitzer-winning "How I Learned to Drive"; and two recent vehicles for "Sex and the City" stars -- the play "Distracted," with Cynthia Nixon, and the film of Rebecca Gilman's play, "Spinning into Butter," with Sarah Jessica Parker.

"The Language Archive" was commissioned by New York City's Roundabout Theatre Company, where Brokaw frequently directs; with Roundabout's consent, South Coast has grabbed it for its premiere production after Cho's script had a staged reading last spring as part of the Costa Mesa company's annual Pacific Playwrights Festival.

Cho's 2007 drama, "The Piano Teacher," premiered at South Coast; after the likable title character passed out cookies to audience members during her opening monologue, the play darkened considerably while depicting how war's horror can infect those seemingly at a safe remove. Another Cho play, "Durango," about conflict between a recently laid-off Korean immigrant and his two Americanized sons, made Times theater critic Charles McNulty's 2007 "best of" list after its West Coast premiere by L.A.'s East West Players.

-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Julia Cho. Credit: Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times