Thought Residency: Michael Rubenfeld

Thought Residency: Michael Rubenfeld


I’m not entirely sure how I became a producer.  I think it had to do with my impatience. And I wonder what my life would have looked like if I had been more patient. If I’d still be in theatre or if I’d be doing something else.  I think about that a lot and I wonder what else I’d be doing.


I made the decision to move to Poland partly so that I could raise a child in a society that didn’t want the Jewish people to exist here. There’s a kind of defiance in this decision. But I also wonder if I’m making the right choice for my child, constantly, when my family made the choice to move to Canada so I wouldn’t have to experience being marginalized.


Today my friend and coworker Clayton Lee was named the new festival director for the Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. And I’m very proud of Clayton. I’ve been working with Clayton for many years. And it’s an amazing step and accomplishment that he’s got this position. So congratulations Clayton!


Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Because when people ask you to then honour the promise that you’ve made and you can’t, it makes you an asshole. And if you get angry with the people who are asking you to honour your promise, it makes you an even bigger asshole. And you’re the one who created the mess in the first place.


I’ve had the most successful few years on my life … with Counting Sheep and starting CanadaHub. And my own play. But I can’t understand why things feel like they’re only getting harder when I thought they should start to feel like they’re getting easier. And I wonder who else feels that way.


I see a lot of young artists who have early success get really pushy with their ambitions. I’m curious about that. Im not saying it’s the wrong approach, but you’re liable to frustrate a lot of people that you’re dealing with. So unless you’re confident that your initial succes will translate into more and more and more success and you won’t need to care about what other people think about you. You should try and practice empathy for the people who are in the other side of that enquire.  This is something I wish I’d told myself when I was a young artist.


Parents are champions. That’s all I can say. And anyone who’s raising twins, you’re an even bigger champion. Anyone who’s a parents and maintains sanity, you’re the biggest champion. But it all honesty, it’s completely bonkers, and, yeah, the best.


I’m spending a lot of time and struggling with my relationship to other people and their need for others to recognize their greatness.  I find it well…embarrassing and I’m not sure why. I think it might be connected to my embarrassment for the realities of humanity’s needs and behavioural patterns — these desires towards greatness and how deep down they’re just antidote for negotiating mortality.


It’s 8:30am and I’m feeding my son Lev, who’s 7 weeks old today. And I’m thinking about how when he begins to talk, he will speak a language that I don’t, as well as my own. And I wonder how that will make me feel about myself. Right now I don’t necessarily feel foreign, but I wonder if, once I can no longer understand what my child is saying, if I will then start to feel like a foreigner.


“I’m doing this from my home in Krakow Poland, where I’ve been living on and off for about two to three years. And I’ve been thinking a lot about language, and how the use of language informs practice. And despite living in a country that—I think—has one of the most exciting theatrical practices in the world, I have very little access to it because of language. The Polish language, which I don’t speak.