Progress festival is not about Torontonians, but that doesn't mean that it isn't for them.
Progress is a new international festival presented by SummerWorks Performance Festival in partnership with The Theatre Centre. The festival features a variety of shows by artists from Israel, Canada, Tunisia, Ireland, Poland, Brazil and Ukraine.
Now, many of us theatregoers are not enthusiastic about subtitles. The thought of multitasking between subtitles, language and performance may not initially seem ideal. But for this kind of festival, the subtitles may do justice to the shows. They will not allow these international stories to simply wash over audience members. And for Progress, this is precisely the goal. These voices need to be heard. And they will be. With utmost concentration.
Progress, which launched yesterday with its first show Marathon, is a new endeavour for Artistic Producer Michael Rubenfeld.
“It's an interesting opportunity to hear from artists (who) we would never really hear from in any other spaces in Toronto,” he says.
Rubenfeld has created a space that combines local and international conversation. He says he is interested in the question of how we, in Toronto, can globalize.
“Sometimes I feel like we are having really strong conversations internally, but I think that we can be having conversations and be in relationships with the rest of the world,” says Rubenfeld.
The shows presented in this festival were curated by local artists and are based on the notion of what progress means to each of the creators in the context of a Toronto ecology.
“There is a question of what happens when we bring their context into our context,” says Rubenfeld. “How that informs the way we think of the world and how that informs the way we think of Toronto.”
Rubenfeld says he hopes Progress artists can develop pieces that they can bring back to their countries, to contribute to what is going on there.
As for Torontonians, Rubenfeld has high hopes for them as well.
“I hope they walk away feeling like they have received a series of insights into conversations that local performance presenters want to share with Toronto, while at the same time, walking away with perspectives from other parts of the world.”
Progress: an International Festival of Performance and Ideas runs at The Theatre Centre until Feb. 15. For more information visit http://thisisprogress.ca/.
Photo from Marathon
Photo credit: Doron Oved