Interview with Joel Fishbane about “In The Yichud Room”

Where do you live?


Where are you from? Hometown?

Originally from Thornhill, a suburb of Toronto, which is only slightly more interesting then being from Toronto itself.

When did you start writing?

If you believe my mother, I started when I was three. But she just wants you to think I was some sort of genius. I actually started when I was four.

Why did you start writing?

I wrote a short story when I was a kid and my mother told me it was really good. She was probably lying, but it everyone likes to be complimented, so I kept writing.  Now if only she had told me that writing involves a lot of rejection too….

What inspired this play?

There was a year when all my cousins were getting married and every time it happened, they’d disappear into the Yichud room. One day I asked what went in there. A few weeks later I was participating in a 24 Hour Playwriting Contest at the Toronto Fringe. This was the only idea in my head, so I went with it (if you’re interested, it won 2nd Place)

What do you write other than plays?

Short fiction, novels, screenplays, TV – anything but poetry. I’m terrible at poetry.

Do you have a day-job? What do you do other than writing?

I moonlight as both a cook and an accountant.

How long did it take you to write this play?

The first draft took me less then 24 hours (that was the nature of the contest, after all). But there were plenty of drafts afterwards, so I’d say about a year.

What do you like best about writing for theatre compared to other mediums?

Theatre is immediate and demands a certain kind of narrative; “In the Yichud Room” has a narrative style that wouldn’t work in film or TV. It has to be a play. That’s the sort of theatre I like the best: the sort that can only exist on the stage.

What is the greatest challenge you think writers face today?

The same one as always: being persistent.  Writing takes a lot of perseverance, both to create the work and to sell it. There’s a lot of rejection. Maintaining one’s self-confidence is a tremendous struggle.

What kind of support do you have for your writing?

Playwrights Workshop Montreal is the best place in Montreal (and probably  Canada) for the developing playwright; it offers consultation, script-reading, workshops, classes and other means of support.  They are an invaluable institution.

Do you have a website/blog? Can I contact you?

You can find me at or read my musings about literature at



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