A life-changing trip to Poland (Episode 20) (now coming back to Toronto!)


This story was featured in: Episode 20

Michael Rubenfeld and his play “We Keep Coming Back”

Michael Rubenfeld is a performance maker, cultural producer, playwright and actor originally from Winnipeg and now residing in Toronto and Poland. He is a Dora Award-nominated performer and playwright and has worked on stages across the country and in parts of the United States and Europe. In 2002 he launched the Absit Omen Playwrights’ Unit with Hannah Moscovitch, which was a bi-monthly space for writers to explore new work. Two years later, they launched Absit Omen Theatre. The company was collectively nominated for over 10 Dora-Mavor Moore Award. In 2009, Absit Omen joined forces with Die in Debt to become Selfconscious Theatre, which Michael co-artistic directs with Sarah Garton Stanley. Together they have made multiple works including The Book of JudithThe Failure Show, mothermothermother… and their newest work-in-progress, We Keep Coming Back. Michael has served as Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Performance Festival since 2008 where he has helped present and produce over 300 new productions. As Artistic Producer, he initiated many new programs, including the Music Series, Live Art Series, SummerWalks, The Performance Bar and the SummerWorks Leadership Intensive Program (SLIP) with Jordi Mand, a training intensive for emerging performance-arts professionals. In 2015, Michael stared Progress: An International Festival of Performance and Ideas. Produced by SummerWorks and The Theatre Centre, Progress brings together multiple Toronto-based performance presenters to curate and produce festival of international and local work.

Michael is also a prolific actor, who has performed on stages across Canada, America and Europe. He has been called “one of Toronto’s most interesting men of the theatre” by the Globe and Mail’s Paula Citron and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

(bio from Michael’s website)

The play “We Keep Coming Back”, co-Created by Michael Rubenfeld and Sarah Garton Stanley with Mary Berchard and Katka Reszke:

A mother and son, both descendants of Polish Holocaust survivors, decide to return to Poland in the hopes of finding their lost identity, and using their quest as a way to reconnect with each other. The plot, however, takes an unexpected turn when Michael and Mary discover a vibrant contemporary world of Jewish life in Poland. Unbeknownst to them, their journey will reveal a parallel narrative among Poles seeking a reconnection with lost Jewish identities. A new and unexpected story is born. We Keep Coming Back is performed by real-life mother and son, Mary Berchard and Michael Rubenfeld, as well as Katka Reszke, author of “Return of the Jew”. It is presented in a media rich environment, incorporating video footage, archival material, and music. Each performance is followed by a short talk-back with the audience.

The play’s website

The play had its Canadian premiere at the 11th Toronto’s Ashnekaz Festival on September 3, 2016.


Now, after the shows in Europe (including Berlin on Kristallnacht), the play is coming back to Toronto, where it will be shown at the Factory Theatre 14-25 November.

More information

More about the play

On Katka Reszke

POLcast’s interview with Michael Rubenfeld is in Episode 20

POLcast’s interview with Katka Reszke is in Episode 30




O Autorze:

POLcast is an English language podcast, a colourful audio magazine delivered directly to your smartphone, computer or tablet. POLcast is created for everybody interested in Poland. If you have a Polish customer, colleague, girlfriend or grandmother - you will hear something helping you to enrich these relations. Each episode brings you interesting interviews, historical facts, trivia and more.