Curatorial Statement – Heather Redfern of The Cultch on ONE
January 18, 2014
Curating a season is always a balancing act at The Cultch. We want to appeal to as diverse an audience as possible and I am always trying to reach as broad a community as I can. When I saw One it spoke to me in the deepest of places; both personally and collectively. I saw the citizens of this city reflected in Mani’s story, his feeling of displacement and his struggle to define himself as a citizen living in a large city; in a country where many people are new immigrants or first generation Canadian; a city where people have moved from reserves or come from small communities to make the city their home. In a city as diverse as Vancouver, who is our community, where do we belong? How do we define ourselves?
The show touched me on a very personal level as well; I grew up always feeling like the odd one, not fitting in; I was weird. One also caused me to reflect on my late partner Jim Green’s story. Growing up in the southern United States, not sharing the same values with anyone he knew, especially his family; embarking on a long journey and finally, accidentally, finding himself in Vancouver and embracing it as his own. My reaction to One was so visceral that I immediately approached Mani and invited him to come to perform at The Cultch. He speaks so honestly about the human experience that I knew the audiences here had to have the opportunity to hear his story.