Without language, were just a bunch of animals. Second Languagea festive collaboration between LaGuardia Community College students and Target Margin Theaterhas some fun with that idea. Growls punctuate the dance soundtrack; an aquarian-woman demonstrates how struggling with English makes her feel like a fish out of water. Later, panda heads appear and city life resembles a behavioral zoo. In brief fragments like these, the youthful castsome from Queens immigrant backgroundsexplores what it might mean to acquire a new tongue and call a foreign culture home.
The ESL P.O.V.--with panda heads.
By Target Margin Theater
The Chocolate Factory
5-49 49th Avenue, Long Island City
The group devised this abstract performance collage from ESL textbooks, cast members stories, and interviews. Shaping it, director David Herskovits admirably emphasizes the strangeness of relearning the world as an adult, rather than revisiting socio-political platitudes. At times Second Language aims to disorientate, leaving the audience unsure if were hearing dialogue as a newcomer does or listening to broken English. (You mistake yourself heavily!) The frantic, peripatetic rhythm often cuts scenes unfortunately short before much sense arises from them. But these vibrant performers seem to have too much fun breaking into silly dances to mindjoining their party might be the best form of cultural immersion.