; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: ONE

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


The PuSh Festival is currently in full swing, and the first (and possibly only) show that I saw was last night's premiere of ONE at the Cultch .

ONE is the extraordinary true life story of Mani Soleymanlou and his personal journey into his past and present. Born in Tehran, he identifies as Persian and Iranian, speaking fluent Farsi as well as French due to his move to Paris and Montreal (with stops in Ottawa and Toronto along the way). He calls upon childhood memories of being taunted for not fitting in - Are you an Arab? Are you Quebecois?

One of the most powerful moments of the night came when the lights went down and he channeled an Iranian immigration officer who spoke of the luxury of being able to live in the Western world.

There were moments of humour as well, such as his diatribe on Persian cuisine. "Tea! WE LOVE TEA!" The one-man 65 minute solo performance was tinged with a rage that could spark at any given moment as Mani navigated the history of the Islamic Revolution and spoke about the dark cloth that has covered Iran for the past 30 odd years.

His story of seeing a shooting star for the first time and running indoors for fear it was the start of a war gave a new perspective to things that we barely think twice about. ONE is a powerful discourse and thought provoking work of art.

Check out Mani Soleymanlou's performance of ONE on now at The Cultch until February 8.

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