With only four chances to see the work, and a limited number of seats available for the reduced-capacity showings, we’re reserving this opportunity first and foremost for our donors and supporters. Visit our Donor Benefits page to find out how you can gain access to these exclusive showings.
A group of antisocial outsiders are chosen to be spokespeople for a new development in a small coastal town. The job is a lifeline; a chance to get their lives back on track with a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. But what exactly are they representing? The true nature of the development is a mystery and what first seems a straight-forward assignment becomes a kind of language experiment, a conjuring act, as the spokespeople attempt to speak on its behalf.
Loosely inspired by Goethe’s Faust, An Undeveloped Sound is about the essential wager made between development and destruction. In Goethe’s play, Faust is estranged from the world and deeply depressed. His bet with the Devil lifts him out of despair with a new lease on life – on one condition: for as long as Faust refuses to be content with what is, and strives endlessly toward what could be, he can save his soul from damnation.
For the spokespeople in An Undeveloped Sound, it’s the verbal impulse – language itself – that becomes the force of salvation: the striving for connection, the quest to say what must be said. If they can sustain this quest in a state of perpetual development, their sense of place in the world will be eternally secured.
Jonathon has assembled an A-list team of Canadian talent to bring the show to life on stage. The production will feature nationally recognized performers Ryan Beil, Andrew McNee, Amy Rutherford and Laara Sadiq; choreography by contemporary dance artist Amber Barton; scenic design by internationally celebrated visual artist Geoffrey Farmer; costume design by acclaimed stage designer Camellia Koo; music by electro-ambient composer Loscil; and lighting design by award-winning designer and artist Sophie Tang.
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.
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.
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.
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 marks the first open work-in-progress showings of the work, from February 1 – 4 2022, co-presented with SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs, in alignment with the Push International Performing Arts Festival Industry Series.
Interested in attending An Undeveloped Sound Work-In-Progress Showings February 1 – 4, 2022? With only four showings, and a limited number of seats available, we’re reserving this opportunity first and foremost for our donors and supporters. Visit our Donor Benefits page to find out how you can access an exclusive invitation to the showing.
Following the discoveries of the creation period, the show will continue to develop over the following year, and finally receive its formal world premiere at the Wong Theatre in January of 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.