“Conlang of Love”

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In a world that is verging on sensory overload, an artform which requires us to focus on one particular sense, is at a disadvantage. It must engage us with such fierceness that we conspire with it to shut out everything else: The popup telling us an email just arrived, the phone telling us someone’s texted us, or, in my particular case, “I’m hungry”.   Really, a radio play is just too much work – unless you love language.

“Conlang of Love” suprised and delighted me. I half expected either a conlang tutorial, thinly disguised as a romance, or a romance, in which conlanging was merely a gimmick. Lou Ramsden split the difference and nailed it down. The interspersed vocabulary and grammar lessons were short enough that they did not intrude, (in fact, I began to look forward to them,) and at the end, they served their purpose: to let us ‘eavesdrop’ on the eventual declaration of love, delivered entirely in Dwarvish.

Which is not to say that the plot was totally predictable. Ramsden set Gethin up quite well. I was quite prepared to hate him, and a little confused by that, because he did seem to be the obvious romantic lead. The deftly written copy room scene, with it’s geeky one upmanship, changed that and I found myself rolling my eyes and wondering how these two were ever going to get together.

Are the characters a bit broadly drawn? Perhaps, but less stereotypes than archetypes. She has given us the Shy Geek, the Secret Geek, and a delicious Evil Diva. From the point at which Frances tells Rita she can have all the credit, you know where this is all going – and you can’t wait for it to get there. You want to be there for Frances’ realization that she deserves credit for her work, for Gethin finding the courage to admit both his Geekdom and his love for Frances, and for that precious moment when Rita loses the spotlight.

All in all, a well paced, well written, work with characters we care about, (OK, and hate,) woven around a classic plotline. Brava, Ms. Ramsden.

© 2014 LeeW