Making An Undeveloped Sound

Jonathon began formally working on An Undeveloped Sound in January of 2021, opting to engage in play development and dramaturgy alongside production design experiments with actors in an integrated creation process. From the outset – as the script began emerging and ideas became text – pieces of scenery, projection, sound design and lighting were at play.

January 2021 – Initial Creation

For the January 2021 Residency at Progress Lab, Jonathon brought in artists James Long, Cameron Peal, Amy Rutherford, Laara Sadiq and Haig Sutherland as actors, to read his freshly written material, alongside Mark Eugster as an animator, projectionist, scenic and technical director, and Jan Hodgson as a Stage Manager. A short seven minute video was made during this period with Director of Photography Brian Johnson and filmmaker Anthony Lee, and shared via livestream at ECT’s Unmasking The Future, kicking off a multi-year, multi-phased creation process.

July 2021 – Script and Design Experiments

In July 2021 our co-presenting partners, SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs stepped in to provide a theatre (the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre) in which to continue the development of script and production elements. During this time, the script expanded and changed as it was read by Ryan Beil, Andrew McNee, Chirag Naik, Amy Rutherford and Laara Sadiq, with Marcus Youssef stepping in as Dramaturg. Jonathon also began working with electro-ambient composer Loscil, media integration specialist Eric Chad, visual artist Geoffrey Farmer, lighting designer Sophie Tang, and costume designer Camellia Koo. The workshop was guided through creation by Stage Managers Jennifer Swan and Yvonne Yip, Production Manager Adrian Muir and the technical production department at SFU Woodward’s.

The culmination of this workshop residency was a significantly produced reading of the current portion of the play, featuring the beginning notions of scenic, sound, lighting and media design ideas, as a spring board to further develop and envision the piece for the next creation period. Since that time, Jonathan’s writing has continued to transform, inspired by and inspiring the production designs for the stage.

February 2022 – Work-In-Progress Showings

Co-presented with SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs & presented with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

In January and February of 2022, An Undeveloped Sound continues its historic residency at the Wong Theatre in a five-week creation period with the full design and technical team, an incredible cast of actors and stage managers, and production staff and technicians to bring all of the ideas to life. This creation period also marked the first open work-in-progress showings of the work, held from February 1 – 4 2022, co-presented with SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs, in alignment with the Push International Performing Arts Festival Industry Series.

An Undeveloped Sound Script and Design Experiments Workshop – July 2021, Wong Theatre (Photo: Mark Eugster)

January/February 2023 – World Premiere

Following the discoveries of the creation periods, the show will continue to develop over the following year, and finally receive its formal world premiere at the Wong Theatre in January 29-February 11, 2023. In an integrated process of play and production development, the project has transformed, evolved, entirely changed and become artistically richer. We look forward to sharing the current development of  the “Undeveloped” with you soon.

Caught between the eternal forces of development and destruction, four spokespeople are on a quest to say what can’t be said.