We Keep Coming Back
Co-Created by Michael Rubenfeld and Sarah Garton Stanley with Mary Berchard and Katka Reszke
We Keep Coming Back tells the true story of a trip to Poland that Michael took along with his mother Mary, Sarah (as his enabler/director), and Katka (as his Polish counterpart and possible love interest). It is a story that he set in motion and one that now involves a core co-creative team. It was a trip of return to the country of Michael and his mother’s cultural origin. While elemental in its urge to reunite mother and son, the work is also steeped with a contemporary politic. While seeking to understand Poland’s complicated history, the narrative takes an unexpected turn in discovering a vibrant contemporary world of Jewish life in Poland.
In her book Return of the Jew, Katka refers to this narrative as the ‘Generation Unexpected’ – this is a new generation of young Polish Jews who are mostly descendants of Jewish families who had hid their roots to survive both the pogroms and later, the Shoah. It was only after the fall of Communism in 1990, that it became safe to once again practice as a Jew in Poland. Subsequently, thousands of discoveries of unexpected Jewish histories have been made – and these stories are growing every day.
In our performance, the concept of ‘generation unexpected’ is realized both in the retelling of Katka’s own story of personal Jewish discovery, and by dissecting Poland’s confrontation with the energy of a revitalized Jewish narrative in Poland, and the deep roots of a North American antipathy towards Poland. To borrow from and broaden Katka’s term, ‘generation unexpected’ characterizes the surprising positions each of the four characters in We Keep Coming Back are revealed to hold. It also elementally sits at the nexus of unexpected results forever revealing themselves in the other generation.
We Keep Coming Back is presented in a visually and audio rich environment, incorporating video footage from the team’s research trips, archival material
(photographs, maps), and live and recorded music. The creators play themselves.
It was developed in Toronto and Poland.
September - 2015 - Residency at Kana Theatre, Szczecin, Poland (showing)
May - 2016 - Workshop at Theatre Centre, Toronto (showing)
June - 2016 - Preview performance at Kana Theatre (Spoiwa Festival)
June/July 2016 - World Premiere in Krakow as part of the Jewish Culture Festival
September, 2016 - Canadian Premiere at the Ashkenaz Festival
June/July, 2017 - 5 city Polish tour (Krakow, Lublin, Warsaw, Wroclaw and Bialystock)
March 7 - 11 2018 - Winnipeg, Manitoba (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre)
March 13-14 , 2018 - Vancouver, BC (Chutzpah Festival)
November, 2018 - Arts Depot, London, UK
We Keep Coming Back on TVP Szczecin