Speaking in Tones (London)

A story about life, death, and parking cars


World Premiere: Sunday 8 July 2012 at Everyman Screen on the Green Cinema, London

Bloomsbury Festival: Sunday 21 October 2012 at The Duke Bloomsbury, London


After witnessing a traumatic incident, 24-year old Laura abandons her family and friends to live a life of solitude, working as a car-park attendant.  Years later she is confronted with unexpected news of her mother’s terminal illness and is forced to choose between living and merely existing…

SPEAKING IN TONES is a sonic cross-platform project that involves voice-acting, music for solo flute, electronics, and sound design; with the end result akin to experiencing a live radio play with a twist.

The main attribute, or ‘twist’, that distinguishes this project from a conventional radio play is the use of music.  Only Laura, the main protagonist of the story, is understood through normal speech and dialogue; while all other secondary characters speak in pure music, or more specifically, music for solo flute and electronics.  What eventuates is a story guided through dynamic exchanges between spoken word and music, alongside a designed sound world in which these exchanges take place.

SPEAKING IN TONES is an experiment to see how far one can push meaning in music, and whether an audience member can still emotionally engage with a story even with part of the normative symbols of language taken away.  The hope is that the emotional drive will still be present, or perhaps even heightened, with the use of the unconventional musical dialogue.

It was premiered on 8th July 2012 at Everyman Screen on the Green Cinema in London to a highly receptive audience.  Its success led to another performance on 21st October 2012 at the Duke Bloomsbury as part of the Bloomsbury Festival in London.

This project is dedicated to the memory of Nariida Coleman.



Laura: 24 year old car park attendant (played by Laura Hanna)

(The following characters are played by Agatha Yim on flute with FX pedal)

Joe: 25 year old office boy

Mrs. Jenkins: Lady in her 70s

Laura’s Mother

Laura’s Father



“It is fateful and ironic how the lie we need in order to live dooms us to a life that is never really ours”

– Ernest Becker (from ‘The Denial of Death’)

Performers: Laura Hanna (voice-acting), Agatha Yim (flute & FX pedal)

Writer & Directer: Agatha Yim

Assistant Director: Catherine Gurevich

Sound Design and Editing: Agatha Yim

Sound Effects Technician: Catherine Gurevich (Premiere at Everyman Cinema), and David Massey (Bloomsbury Festival)

Compositions: Agatha Yim (all music is based on the final movement of CPE Bach’s Sonata in A minor for solo flute)



Character Teasers