I was invited to the opening night of the play “How to Disappear Completely” by a friend who was going to review the play.
I was very impressed with the one-man play by Itai Erdal. Erdal grew up in Israel and moved to Vancouver with the dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker. He ended up doing lighting design for theatre.
In 2000, he got a call that his mother in Jerusalem was diagnosed with lung cancer. He flew back home to be with his mother. He decided to document her battle with the unrelenting disease.
It was quite interesting how he put this play together. Using videos of interviews with his mother, sister and childhood friend, Erdal also incorporated lighting techniques into the play.
I totally related to the play as shortly after I moved to Vancouver to study Sound Engineering, my father’s battle with cancer took a nasty turn and I had to fly back to Winnipeg.
My father’s sister told me he waited for me to return. A few hours after I arrived and said my goodbyes, he passed away. His suffering was over.
The dialogue in the videos was in Hebrew and Erdal would do a live English translation of what was being said. It was quite comical how he not only translated his sister’s comments but her mannerisms as well.
As I watched the play, memories of my father came back to me. I wondered how it felt for Erdal to be looking at these videos of his mother on the screen larger than life.
Being opening night of the play, there was a reception afterward and I had a chance to talk with Erdal. I asked him if it was difficult to watch the videos. He replied, “Not really…I feel like she’s still with me when I see the videos.”
I asked him if perhaps this was part of a healing process. He said “perhaps somewhat.”
He told me that he got the title from a Radiohead song. Apparently Radiohead were inspired by Doug Richmond’s book “How Disappear Completely and Never Be Found”.
The play has played at many venues including fringe festivals over the years.
I also talked with Stage Manager Jetheloe E. Cabilete who said they’ve had some difficulty presenting the play in some cities as theatrical unions had a bit of a problem with Erdal working the lights in the play. They claimed that with him doing the lighting (though of the 70 something lighting cues in the play, he didn’t control all of them), he was taking work away from union workers.
Now, I wasn’t planning on doing a review, but as I watched a Youtube trailer of the play this morning, I was reminded of the brilliance of the play. See the trailer here:
Okay, now that you’ve seen the trailer and read my review, do yourself a favour and check out the play.
Just three more shows at the Berney Theatre (120 Doncaster St.)
Wed. Mar. 29 @ 7:30 p.m.
Thu. Mar 30 @ 7:30 p.m. (with Talkback)
Sat. Apr. 1 @8 p.m.
Photos by Doug Kretchmer
‘Part documentary, part memorial, all heart’ line borrowed from promo poster