How to Disappear Completely

Celebrated lighting designer blends love of documentary filmmaking and theatre for this unique solo show

Itai Erdal in How to Disappear Completely

Itai Erdal in How to Disappear Completely

World-renowned theatre lighting designer Itai Erdal blends his love of lighting and documentary filmmaking in How to Disappear Completely, making its Victoria debut at Intrepid Theatre’s Uno Fest

When Erdal, who had moved from Israel to Vancouver to attend film school, received a phone call telling him is mother was dying of lung cancer, he put his life on hold and returned to his homeland to spend as much time as he could with her, filming more than 30 hours of tape in her last months on Earth, intending to make a documentary film about her life.

Upon his return to Vancouver, Erdal put the footage away, as the grief was too great to set to work on the project.

It wasn’t until five years later when James Long — artistic director of Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement, and director of How to Disappear Completely — asked Erdal to be part of a workshop where the idea for the full show came to be. Multiple artists would create short 10-minute pieces based on Erdal’s footage, which Long had seen over the years as the two were good friends, and Erdal — who has been blessed with the gift of gab — got on stage to translate (the dialogue is in Hebrew) and provide context.

“I’m not an actor,” says Erdal. “I’m a good storyteller, I’m comfortable in public and I love talking … The notion of being in front of people wasn’t strange to me.”

What was intimidating was Erdal’s fear of offending his family. “They all came to the opening,” he says. “They were very touched. I was worried about offending my sister because she’s a very private person and her face is being projected on a huge screen, and we’re talking about the two hardest times in her life — my parents getting divorced and my mother dying— so I was worried about her reaction.”

While his sister wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being filmed in their time of great vulnerability, which led to fighting amongst them at the time, it was his mother who encouraged him to bring his camera.

“She said ‘This is my contribution to your future profession,’ it was her idea,” says Erdal. “She was directing the movie. She’d say ‘cut,’ or tell me how to get better angles. She wanted to help me in my career. If she had any idea how she really helped me … It’s remarkable how this footage changed my life.”

How to Disappear Completely will also be of great interest to budding lighting designers as it is also a prominent topic of the show.

“It’s the container that holds the whole thing,” says Erdal. “The show can be very sad at times and that’s hard to avoid, but it’s not just about my mom, it’s about every aspect of my life, my work, my friends, my dreams, my aspirations. I run the lights during the show … it’s a theatrical device. I keep pretending its a lighting lecture.” M

 

How to Disappear Completely

Intrepid Theatre’s Uno Fest

Metro Studio (1411 Quadra)

Thurs., May 23 at 9pm Sat., May 25 at 2pm

$20 or five shows for $69 at ticketrocket.org or 250-590-6291

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read