✔ Pick of the Pack
Theater: ‘The Language Archive’
Julia Cho’s “The Language Archive” uses a trope familiar to America’s professional class: The expert whose expertise ends the minute he walks through his own front door. Much like the twice-divorced psychologist, the nicotine-addicted doctor and the self-made millionaire who gets audited for tax evasion, “The Language Archive’s” protagonist is a master linguist and student of dying languages who can’t communicate with his wife. The frustration doesn’t end there. George also has trouble communicating with his research assistant, and with getting two speakers of a dying language to communicate with each other. In aggregate, the play’s intertwining plot seems fantastic, and yet, even the incommunicado speakers of a dying language have a real-world parallel. Indiana University linguist Daniel Suslak made news in 2011 when he discovered the last two living speakers of an indigenous Mexican language, Ayapaneco. Sadly, Manuel Segovia, age 75, and Isidro Velazquez, age 69, refused to speak to each other on the grounds that neither much enjoyed the other’s company.
Through March 10 at Round House Theatre Bethesda, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Md.
Between 1949, when he debuted with the “Bonnie and Clyde”-like “They Live by Night,” and 1971, when he made his last and most undefinable film, the pseudodocumentary “We Can’t Go Home Again,” Nicholas Ray made every type of movie: Westerns (“Johnny Guitar” and “The Lusty Men”), suburban dramas (“Bigger Than Life”), historical treatments (“King of Kings”), and dark whodunits (“On Dangerous Ground”). Despite his contributions to the art of cinema, Ray’s most famous film — “Rebel Without a Cause” — is best remembered not for its director, but as the vehicle that made James Dean a household name. While “Rebel” bronzed Ray’s legacy, it’s just one tiny piece of a rich and haunting oeuvre.
Through April 12 at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.
For Kids: Amphibian and Reptile Day
The dullness of adulthood is best summarized by Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” For many people, one indicator of maturation is that our fascination with slimy, scaly critters gives way to revulsion. The National Aquarium’s Amphibian and Reptile Day, then, is not just a chance for children to see snakes, lizards and crocs up close, but also for adults to rediscover the wonder of the animal kingdom. Aquarium experts will be on hand to show off a rare albino alligator and baby loggerhead sea turtles, as well as a “bug buffet.” But don’t worry: The latter is for the critters, not the people.
Feb. 25 at the National Aquarium, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
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By Andrew P. Napolitano
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