Itai Erdal’s one-man
gem of a show

How to Disappear Completely blends sadness with humour

By Byron Toben

While visiting Vancouver, Segal Centre Artistic Director Lisa Rubin not only enlisted top notch lighting designer Itai Erdal to create the lighting for the fine production of Million Dollar Quartet in the main theatre, but to perform his own one-man gem How To Disappear Completely in the studio theatre across the lobby.

How to Disappear Completely WestmountMag.caNeedless to say, Mr. Erdal also designed the lighting for his own show as well.

He was born in Jerusalem of a mother born in Paraguay and a German father born in Turkey. Citing this variety as an example of the “wandering Jew”, he added to it by emigrating to Canada as a young man on his own.

And changing his goal from becoming a filmmaker into that of a lighting designer, with many credits including the Shakespeare festival in Stratford, Ontario.

Thus this one-man show starts out by introducing the audience to various stage lighting equipment and filters. It then devolves into his adventurous youth, parachuting, swimming near sharks and the like. All the while becoming, while not a trained actor, a gifted storyteller and raconteur.

Upon learning that his mother was dying of terminal cancer, he returned to Israel to aid his sister (a poet/school teacher) in caring for her. He took much film footage of her as, at her request, a possible documentary, so his best Israeli friend Amir and his stepfather Pedro also appear as mom visibly weakens. She expresses hope that Erdal, then about 31, marry and have children like his sister. Like him, Mom is outspoken, humorous and practical.Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.caSadly, she passes away almost to the day of the nine-month prognostication.

This wonderful show has now been performed in 19 cities in the US, England, Scotland and Ireland.

How to Disappear Completely WestmountMag.caYears pass, until friends at Vancouver’s The Chop Theatre persuade him to include all this into his one-man show, developed in collaboration with its head Anita Rochon, Emelia Symington Fedy (who designed the sound) and James Long (who directs).

This wonderful show has now been performed in 19 cities in the US, England, Scotland and Ireland.

Erdal, now 43 and still a bachelor, uses the stage to inform suitable gals in the audience that he’s still looking. She should be 38 or younger, intelligent with a sense of humour and want children soon. Unusual, but to me beats aerial banners and Internet hook ups for target audiences.

Like the other wonderful one-man show at the Segal, Rick Miller’s Boom (March 2016), this 60-minute show hosts an audience “talk back” every night of the run. I recommend staying for that too.


How to Disappear Completely is now extended at the Segal until May 21.
Information and tickets at 514 739-7944 or

Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club

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