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Progress Festival Toronto

The top 5 shows to catch at the Progress Festival

Progress Festival, Toronto's newest theatre event, hits the stage from February 4 to 15. The festival is the love-child of SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre, and promises to shake up the city's arts scene by bringing global talent to local audiences.

While the outlook is international, the festival is very much rooted in this city's arts community, with each show curated by a Toronto company.

Here are my picks for the top shows at the inaugural Progress Festival in Toronto.

D-Sisyphe - curated by Volcano Theatre
Set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, D-Sisyphe is the story of a construction workers experiencing an existential crisis of faith after a night of drinking. Tunisian actor, dancer and playwright Meher Awachri uses dance and spoken word to animate this modern retelling of the myth of Sisyphus.

Cine Monstro - curated by Why Not Theatre
Cine Monstro is a Quentin Tarantino-esque Canadian play that has become a hit in Brazil. Now Daniel MacIvor's Monster comes back to Toronto as a Portuguese production. This is a dark tale of hacked up bodies and forlorn dreams told through a multimedia spectacle of visuals and sounds.

Marathon - curated by SummerWorks
Life is a neverending race in this controversial piece about modern Israeli society. Marathon combines dance, script, theatre, and the act of running to describe a state of social and political emergency. A sure conversation starter for anyone interested in the future of the Middle East.

The Messiah Complex 5.0 - curated by Videofag
The Messiah Complex 5.0 is a trance-inducing Powerpoint-sermon that samples pop-culture, Queer theory, ancient religion and Freudian psychoanalysis to create an irreverent new mythology. Come for the fantastical costumes and makeup but stay for the mind-boggling ideas.

Silent Dinner - curated by FADO Performance Art Centre
Irish artist Amanda Coogan, the child of two deaf parents, asks the audience to join a group of performers and non-performers, half hearing and half deaf, for an eight-hour silent dinner. The group will set up the kitchen, prepare a meal and finally sit down to eat without uttering a single word. Audience members can stay for the entire performance or come in and out for the duration of the piece.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for the top events at the inaugural Progress festival in Toronto in the comments.

Follow Sima Sahar Zerehi on Twitter @SimaSaharZerehi.

Photo of the Messiah Complex

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