We’ve just completed our latest workshop for We Keep Coming Back at Aluna Theatre in Toronto. Thank you to all who joined us for our showing on December 1st and shared their thoughts about the work. We’re now preparing for our final workshop in May and our premiere production during Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival this July.

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We concluded our two-week residency in the Kana Theatre with a public showing of the play in-progress. Our presentation launched the new artistic season at the theatre and gathered quite a lot of media attention. After the showing we had the pleasure of speaking to our first Polish audience during a talk-back, and were incredibly moved with the important and meaningful conversation that ensued.

To find out more about the show click here

Here several selected mentions of the show (of over 30):


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WKCP in the Kana Program
Elizabeth Kantor
Sarah and Michael with Janek Tarkowski (Artistic Director) entering the Kana Theatre

Thank you to the Kana Theatre and your amazing support, which made our residency with you so satisfying and fruitful. Special shout out to Janek, Nika, Tomek, Tomek, Tomek, Ewa, and Weronika. We look forward to coming back!


After surviving the holocaust, Mary Berchard’s family moved from Poland to Sweden where she was born. They then immigrated to Canada in 1951, where she grew up and eventually had a son, Michael. 65 years later, with their relationship feeling deeply disconnected, the two decide to return to Poland for the first time in the hopes of exploring their lost Polish identity and use it as catalyst in their desire to reconnect to each other.

Unbeknownst to them, this journey would reveal a parallel narrative occurring in the third post-war generation of Poles, that has many of them equally seeking a reconnection with lost Jewish identities.

We Keep Coming Back tells the true story of the journey between Mary and Michael back to their country of origin and how the intersection with these new contemporary Polish narratives contributed to the unraveling and reconstruction of their own identity narrative. In the course of their exploration, undertaken with collaborators Sarah and Katka, a new and unexpected story is born.


Created by Michael Rubenfeld and Sarah Garton Stanley with Mary Berchard and Katka Reszke-Grünberg

Design and Technical Collaboration by Cam Davis, Teresa Przybylski, Lyon Smith, Emilie Aubin, Elizabeth Kantor and Aga Nowak

Producing contributions by Evelyn Tauben and Magda Koralewska

Produced by Self Conscious Theatre

Residency presented with support from Kana TheatreThe Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, and The Collaborations at Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre.

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We Keep Coming Back is a performance work exploring how the disconnect from family both parallels and is informed by the disconnect from place.

Michael Rubenfeld is a theatre artist living in Toronto. He has a complicated relationship with his mother, Mary. Mary was born in Sweden to Jewish refugees from Poland. Yet no one in his family identifies as Polish, or Swedish. In his early 30s, Michael starts to question his feelings of detachment from his mother, from being Jewish, from Poland. Are these feelings of disconnection all connected? Can a mother and son

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Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
Photo by Dahlia Katz
The Creative Team
Photo by Dahlia Katz
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Co-created by Michael Rubenfeld and Sarah Garton Stanley with Katka Reszke and Mary Berchard 
Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley Performed by Mary Berchard, Katka Reszke and Michael Rubenfeld Scenography and Technical Direction by Trevor Schwellnus Sound Design by Lyon Smith Produced by Sue Balint, Magda Rubenfeld Koralewska and Paweł Wojtalewski Documentary Video Work by Katka Reszke Presented by Selfconscious Theatre (CA), Nadaye Foundation (PL), Beit Krakow (PL) and the Suck and Blow Collective (CA/PL)

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We Keep Coming Back has been generously supported by The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal, The Collaborations at Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre (Ottawa, Ontario), Stichtin HipUp NL, Theatre Kana (Szczecin, Poland), Factory Theatre, Why Not Theatre, The Theatre Centre, Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company (Toronto, Ontario), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, The Polish Cultural Institute in New York City, Beit Kraków, and LOGTV, Ltd.

Honorary Patronage: Embassy of Canada to Poland.

The Toronto Arts Council supported our Nov/Dec 2015 development workshop of We Keep Coming Back through the Suck and Blow Collective, the collective we formed in 2006 to present an early work with Judith Snow called ‘Suck and Blow’ at the Rhubarb Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

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In January 2014, selfconscious did ten workshop days on We Keep Coming Back that culminated with a showing for a small audience. For this workshop we worked with Cameron Davies (video), Lyon Smith (sound) and Emilie Aubin (stage management) as well as the core creative team.

Our next two-week development phase will be in partnership with Theatre Kana in Szczecin, Poland in August/September 2014.


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