Learning a new language can be a challenge, frustration and all-around time consuming. After seeing the play “Universal Language” it makes me want to stop what I’m doing and start taking lessons to learn Unamunda, the universal language.
Unamunda is the language that was created within the play. It is the reason the play is named “Universal Language” because it is the language in which is considered to be universal.
The play starts out with you watching this young woman named Dawn Davito, played by Julissa Norment, talk and try to prepare for her interview. It really touched me because we have all been there: nervous, stressing out and tripping over our words, trying to prepare what we would like to say.
She musters up the courage to make it into this interview just to feel embarrassed and turn off her camera. Wow is what describes this moment, as I’ve been there one too many times myself.
Also did you catch that I mentioned she turned off her camera. Yes, this play is set up through what appears to be an interview set up through platform that looks like a video chat. This is similar to the way most business are holding virtual interviews today.
During the majority of the story, Dawn is talking to her teacher Don, played by Tristen Brown, who is speaking to her in some kind of language that seems like a mixture of all different kinds of words and sounds like gibberish. Although in some way the language all makes sense because all the words have a function and the speakers can identify what they are saying just like a commonly known language.
Don truly looks like a shady, unkept man in the beginning, but as his character develops, I truly begin to trust him. It was a shame that in the end he was a crook.
The making of the Unamunda language is really something that in the end turned out to be made up. It is a scam that Don was trying to run, although it turned out to be something quite beautiful. After learning this new language, it helped Dawn escape from her stutter that she felt very negatively about.
This new language, Unamunda, turned out to be a scam, is actually saved and put to good use because of Dawn. She uses her optimistic and bright personality to convince Don that this language he has created is actually beautiful even though it was meant to be a way to scam money from people. She goes on to convince Don that his language, Unamunda, can change the world and bring people together.
Although it would have been nice to hear a little more English on Don’s part in the beginning to ease me into the play, I believe this was a necessary touch for the building of the premise of the play.
Along with the creative twist on the play such as virtual interviews and breaking language barriers, the all-black cast made the play even more inclusive by giving it an element to set it apart. This play was truly a story that has so much relevance to the times we are in as a society and promotes a great message.
It makes you believe: “Wen Yu Fre Fal Fynd Iff Heven Waitz [When you free fall find if Heaven waits]”.