It sounds odd to call props cast members. However, the hugely talented Mani Soleymanlou brings them to life. He uses them to create classrooms. He uses them as a stage to turn himself into a rockstar or people praying. Some chairs become family members or girlfriends.
One/Un tells Mani’s life story. He was born in Iran, moved to France, then Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec. It’s a one man show. At times there are elements of Letterman or Craig Ferguson.
Mani and the chairs turn the stage into an airliner with Erwann Bernard’s innovative lighting. It doesn’t hurt that he has the charisma of a jumbo jet.
The imagery is as vivid as Kerouac’s On the Road. With all the globetrotting and flying, One/Un could almost be called “On the Plane.” At times, Mani’s cadence and combination of accents reminded me of Kerouac’s.
Mani describes his mother transforming herself from a Westerner to an Iranian. We hear his words and see it with our eyes.
There is an entirely entertaining recounting of the recent history of Iran. Considering the reality, this is no small feat. Iran itself is vividly described as being gorgeous. His descriptions of Iranian food will have you Googling the location of the nearest Persian restaurant.
The colour of Iran is described as being black since 1979. With technology and a very young population, Mani is completely confident that a happier, more progressive Iran is about to become a reality.
When I left the theatre, the sky was bluer, the air fresher and the smiles bigger. Thank you, One/Un!
For me, it’s impossible to visit Iran because of harsh political realities. Still, Mani makes me want to book a flight!
One/Un received a standing ovation. A play this passionate, charismatic and so full of optimism deserves it.
- One/Un plays at Venue E: The Theatre Centre (1087 Queen Street West)
- Showtimes: Fri.August 10, 7:00 PM, Sun. August 12, 4:30 PM, Tues. August 14, 6:30 PM, Thurs. August 16, 7:00 PM, Sat. August 18, 4:30 PM, Sun. August 19, 11:30 AM
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://ticketwise.ca, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the Lower Ossington Box Office (located at 100A Ossington Avenue) Mon. – Sun. 12PM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
-photo of Mani Soleymanlou