"UN" at the NAC Studio
Ottawa, 25 February 2013 – The Théâtre français is pleased to present Un by Mani Soleymanlou at the NAC Studio from March 5 to 8, 2014 at 8 p.m. From Teheran’s starry nights to the Perseids over Caraquet by way of Paris, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, Mani Soleymanlou’s story is a tale of exile and shattered identity. Though described as an Iranian, he speaks only a smattering of Farsi, and his knowledge of his Persian heritage is limited to One Thousand and One Nights! Virtually alone onstage, he seeks, finds, forgets or rejects every aspect of what he has always thought he wanted to be. “I am a Torontonian-Arab-Iranian who has lived in France and Ottawa, yet today people say to me, Hey, you’re Québécois. I no longer know what to call myself.”
Mani Soleymanlou, who in recent years has appeared at the NAC in L’opéra de quat’sous and The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, is back this time with a very personal show. In humorous, self-deprecating fashion, he transplants his fantasized identity to the reality of contemporary Iran, and gets a rude shock. His clear, simple writing covers important questions that are a reflection of issues at work in our society: multiculturalism, secularism, how we view the Other.
What the Critics Say
Mani Soleymanlou transforms his life story into an entertaining private epic with a wonderful balance of gravity and self-mockery.
Alexandre Vigneault, La Presse
A political and social reflection that takes a clear look at the situation of young Iranians today and the gulf that separates them from the conditions of the writer’s own life.
Alexandre Cuvelier, L'Express
Zigzagging between childhood memories, brief history lessons and clichés of folklore, he tells a tale – his own – in a lucid, self-deprecating manner and, without seeming to, invites us to reflect on the question of identity.
Aurélie Olivier, Jeu
Written, directed and performed by: Mani Soleymanlou // Co-director: Alice Ronfard // Lighting: Erwann Bernard // Sound: Larsen Lupin // Produced by: Orange Noyée // Co-produced by: La Chapelle // With the collaboration of: Théâtre du Grand Jour
PANEL DISCUSSION: THEATRE, IMMIGRATION, QUEBEC
Friday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m.
Academic Hall, University of Ottawa
(133 Séraphin-Marion St., Ottawa)
To mark the presentation of Un, the Théâtre français and the Theatre Department of the University of Ottawa will be hosting a discussion on the question of the immigrant artist and his or her identity within the contemporary Quebec theatre scene. Participants include Mani Soleymanlou, Sasha Samar (seen recently in Moi, dans les ruines rouges du siècle), Christina Iovita (Concordia University) and Peter Batakliev (University of Ottawa). Douglas Clayton will act as moderator. Come discover the backgrounds and artistic work of each of these participants, as well as the challenges and problems encountered upon their arrival here, and those they still face.