rooms // apart at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

rooms // apart by Timothy Cooper and Mathew Bittroff.

Sugar Foot Ballroom (8166 – 105 street) August 14 – 16, 18 – 23.


rooms // apart. Photo credit: Kristalee Parish

rooms // apart. Photo credit: Kristalee Parish

An interview with Mathew Bittroff.

Describe your show in five words.

“Insanely” hilarious. Dysfunctional friendship. Heart.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

rooms//apart is the story of two inpatients at a mental institution, their rooms are next to one another and the wall between them is particularly thin. They begin to talk through the wall, and over the course of treatment – become extremely close, like brothers. We follow their kooky friendship, learn some of their skewed perspectives, and watch their progression (or digression) in treatment.

rooms // apart is a remount from your 2010 fringe run. What made this the right time to bring rooms // apart back? How has the show changed since the 2010 run?

It is! We are so flippin’ excited! We have always loved this show we created and since it’s first run in 2010 we talked nonstop about remounting it, so when we were both available this summer it was a no-brainer. It’s been five years since the last run and both Tim and I have really grown as actors and performers in that time, looking through our old script it was easy for us to see what people loved about this show and this time I think we really succeeded at bringing that to the forefront. The story-telling and structure of this show is leaps and bounds ahead of where we were in 2010, we actually cut 4 entire scenes and rewrote them almost completely. We also had to take out a few celebrity references that were dated, a Blockbuster joke (What’s Blockbuster?), and reworked a lot of our bits to hit harder in 2015.

What’s been your process of workshopping rooms // apart over the last 5 years?

It was a very gradual and slow process at first, chatting about it over beers and video games once in a while, or re-imagining scenes on long car rides to auditions in Calgary. So I guess once we finally set the plan in motion to actually remount it, we already knew exactly what we had to do. The biggest change was to a series of scenes that take place between one of the men and his doctor, we added all kinds of neat shadow work and really tried to tell the story through the eyes of a patient dealing with mental illness.

The description of rooms // apart mentions that it explores “the true cost of sanity”. What does this mean in the context of the show?

That’s a hard question to answer without giving too much away! Hmmm… Let’s just say… that their friendship gets derailed.

I’m sorry! One of my favorite parts of this show is the reaction people have to the ending, and I don’t want to spoil anything!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

If you’re still not convinced, let our cool trailer do some more convincing?

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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