Love, loss, and acceptance are the focus of Matthew Eger’s To Be Alone With You, a one-man show set in the aftermath of a suicide and playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. Matthew explores each with passion as he examines the world and himself and he spoke with me to provide more depth behind this show and his journey:
1) Describe your show in 7 words or less.
Trying to deal with life after suicide.
2) What sets your show apart from other Fringe shows?
To Be Alone With You is a true story based on my real life. Because the story truly was “stranger than fiction,” and because while writing the play I wanted to find the most vulnerable and honest place I could, I felt keeping events true and making myself the main character would be the strongest choice. The struggle I face on stage is very truly the struggle I have experienced in life.
3) What is the most interesting or surprising thing you have you learned in the process of developing the show?
I think my greatest discovery is that in specificity lies universality. One of my favourite moments in the play, which started out as a joke, I mention to my friend how he would have loved RuPaul’s Drag Race, and how sad I was that we missed out on watching it together. It was a total lark when I sat down to write the play, but when I got on my feet to act it out, it had a profound emotional effect on me as an actor. Moments like this one have found themselves throughout the show. Everyone, without even knowing what that show is, knows how hard it would be to miss out on a happy memory with a lost friend or lover.
4) What events or experiences in particular inspired you to create this show?
In 2008, I lost a lover to suicide. I have spent a greater part of the last six and a half years trying to make sense of the pieces he left behind. This play a culmination of those years, working to make myself a stronger and better person. That is the hardest thing I have had to do, and so an attempt at redemption and even validation is important to me. Above all, To Be Alone With You is about my love for my friend, and I want to honour that.
5) What are you hoping people will take away from your show?
I hope that audiences will be moved to understand depression and mental illness in a new way, from the perspective of the people affected by it. Suicide is never anything but tragic, and if someone can take away a little bit of love and redemption, I have definitely done my job right. Younger audience especially might be able to see themselves in me and my friend, and maybe they will feel a little less alone because of it.
Friday July 10th at 2:15pm
Saturday July 11th at 12:00pm
Sunday July 12th at 9:00pm
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
Photo provided by the company.