How to Disappear Completely (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

How To Disappear Completely

Honest, intimate autobiographical play about assisted suicide, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Itai Erdal explains to the audience that when he was young, he wanted to be a documentary film maker but became a lighting designer. Using projected film clips and over seventy lighting cues this show utilises both his passion and his profession to create an honest, intimate performance that details his mother's final months and his role in her assisted suicide.

The projected interviews filmed in Jerusalem with his mother, sister and best friend are embellished by Erdal's anecdotes, his sharp character deductions and his touching description of how he would light them on stage. His decision to translate the Hebrew in the film clips as they are played, as opposed to using subtitles, provides a coherence between the mediums.

Erdal has brilliant stage presence and genuine skill for storytelling, though his honesty sometimes teeters on uncomfortable. The documentary film he shot will never come into being; the legal issues of assisted suicide forced him to shelve the project and he later lost most of the video footage, but his decision to create a theatre piece 13 years later allows Erdal himself to be present for this thought provoking tale of life and death that is just as much about him as it is his mother.

Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug (not 13), £10.50–£11.50 (£9.50–£10.50).

How to Disappear Completely

  • 4 stars

Aurora Nova and Elbow Theatre present The Chop Theatre Award-winning lighting designer and storyteller Itai Erdal draws on a life lived between his birthplace, Jerusalem, and home in Vancouver. In 2000, he was told his mother had nine months to live. Combining the power of story telling with the nuanced potency of stage…