Beginner's Guide to Itai Erdal -- The Chop -- How to Disappear Completely Mar 14, 2013

by Heidi


The only way to introduce How to Disappear Completely is to tell the story of it's creator, so here I've written some cliff notes about Itai Erdal's journey into performance. How to Disappear Completely is showing March 21-24, bring tissues! Bring your mom! 

1. Itai Erdal has heretofore been known for his stunning and award winning lighting design (winning best design in the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2008 and Jessie Richardson awards in 2009 and 2011).  He lives and works in Vancouver, but is originally from Jerusalem.  He was drawn to Canada because he wanted to be a documentary film maker and there is a great film school and burgeoning film scene in Vancouver.  However, his mother’s diagnosis with lung cancer in 2002 drew him back to Israel to take care of her as she slowly passed.  

2. When Itai returned to Jerusalem, his mother, as a sort of contribution to his future documentary film career, allowed him to videotape her through the last 9 months of her life.  She even gave a name to the documentary: Towards my Mother's Death.  She decided not to be hospitalized because, as a nurse, she had spent enough time in hospitals and didn’t want to die in one.  The footage he took during this time is some of the main material drawn from in making his performance piece, How to Disappear Completely

3. When Itai returned to Canada after his mother’s death, he found the film jobs he had been working before he left had dried up due to a major writer’s strike and he sought other work to pay the bills.  Since Itai had some experience doing theater lighting at a community theater in Israel, he started applying at theaters in Vancouver.  Despite being placed last on long lists of lighting engineers at some local theaters, Itai was recruited to work in the stead of a lighting designer who quit two weeks before a production was scheduled to open, thus starting his career as a designer!  He quickly realized he loved theater much more than film, and has steadily worked his way to a very successful career as a lighting designer in Vancouver (check out his online portfolio).

4. Why is all this important?  Well, in a brave move, Itai, a life-long storyteller, decided to create a performance to tell the story of his mother’s passing through the metaphor of lighting design.  It’s a story within a story—the story of his career, his passion, his transformation from film student to lighting designer to producer, and moreover a celebration of his mother and his love for her.  

5. None of this would have been possible without the support of the much celebrated, Vancouver, BC based, The Chop Theater.  How to Disappear Completely was produced by The Chop and directed by James Long.  The Chop Theater has been building and producing original works since 2004.  They are dedicated to expanding the forms of theater and creating live, vital connections to the audience.