Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Michael Rubenfeld

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Michael Rubenfeld is a writer, director, actor and producer originally from Winnipeg, now living in Toronto, Canada. His plays include Present Tense, Spain and My Fellow Creatures.

He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Absit Omen Theatre with Hannah Moscovitch. In 2008 he was hired as the Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival.

Michael is a 2001 acting graduate from the National Theatre School. His blog is

No Associated Interview

My Fellow Creatures

By Michael Rubenfeld

Nominated for Outstanding New Play at the 2008 Dora Awards.

An EYE Weekly top-ten show of 2008.

Two men, each serving time for the same crime, are forced to question the nature of their desires when their pasts become their present. Venturing into dark and explosive territory, My Fellow Creatures is a raw, honest and thoughtful portrayal of these men and their virtues, confronting the reader with difficult questions about love, consent, vengeance and acceptance.

"A stunning play that moved and bit me." — Claudia Dey, author of Stunt and The Gwendolyn Poems

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

Michael -vs- Blog : THE CHAT

Blog - Hello Michael

Michael - Blog.

Blog - How are you?

Michael - Fine.

Blog - Fine?

Michael - (looking over, eyebrows raised) ... Fine.

Blog - Jus' askin'.

Michael - To which I responded that I was fine.

Blog - Heardja the first time.

Michael - So why did you ... nevermind.

(Michael sits and drinks his coffee while flipping through his New Yorker. Blog sips an herbal tea, looking through the classifieds)

Blog - (reading) "If you're into boobs, I'm your gal. My boobs will keep you bouncing all night long. Call Ruby for some booby."

(Blog picks up the phone and starts to dial)

Michael - What are you doing?

Blog - Calling Ruby.

Michael - No you're not.

Blog - I'm curious.

Michael - Put the phone down.

Blog - But I want to know!

Dear Michael's Blog

Dear Blog,

How are you?
I've missed you.
Thing have been pretty good since we last spoke.
I've been a part of three different plays, all that I'd written. There was a point in my life when I didn't think I would ever really consider myself a writer, but now look. Here I am, having written and staged three pieces since May. I guess that means I'm a writer--or perhaps that just means I'm an ego-maniac. Perhaps, Blog, it just means that I am unable to find the happiness I need internally, and seek the constant affirmation from those around me. Perhaps I need you ALL to tell me how much you love me, and what a good boy I am. I'm a good boy! I'M A GOOD BOY.

Blog - Michael.

Michael - (through tears) YA?

Blog - Michael, I'm here. I'm here Michael.

"Dear Sin", by Andrew Penner (composed for The Book of Judith)

An MP3 from the upcoming The Book of Judith.

The Hierarchy of Disability

Theatre artist, Alex Bulmer, in town from England to perform in The Book of Judith, takes time out from a rehearsal to speak about The Hierarchy of Disability.

The End!?!?!

Oh No! April ended so soon.

Sob! How I did enjoy my time blogging.

I am contemplating beginning a seperate blog that can exist as one ongoing conversation between me and my blog.

I still owe an email about The Book of Judith, that I'd like to write.

I also can say that New York was great. I should have stuck to my instincts and stayed away from the theatre ... but I didn't. Saw a piece of garbage saw The Gingerbread House. Hated it. Made me quite lonely.

Rehearsals start on Monday for Book of Judith, and I am throwing a rather large Launch Party for the SummerWorks Festival on Sunday.


Ok. All the best.

Swine and Dine.

I am going to New York tomorrow for a few days, and I may not see even one play. I have never gone to New York without seeing a piece of theatre, and to be honest, I'm actually kind of excited about it.

I'm amazed at how much theatre is in my life. I never thought it would become such a part of my psychological make-up. I am finding myself more and more often wanting to write down things people are saying, and then become instantly aware and a little turned off by my own writerly cliches.

Rational Irrational.

At this point, its all just gobble-dee-gook. I'm writing this blog but I'm not sure what I'm trying or even need to say. All this has seemingly been able to prove is that the more questions we ask, the more we have, leaving us with nothing but reality.

I've been seeing more and more theatre, which is fairly common-place, but I don't feel much like writing about it.

I can say that there appears to be a bit of a paradigm shift right now. Whatever. Who cares.

Blog - Michael?

Michael - What?

Blog - How you doing?

Michael - Me? Oh. Y'know. Ok.

Blog - Are you sure?

Michael - Do I not seem sure?

Blog - You seem a little distant.

Michael - Distant how?

Blog - Well, like there's something going on that you're hiding from me.

Books and Classes.

Have been in rehearsals for my new show, The Book of Judith. To be specific, have started some choir rehearsals. We have a choir that is made up of members from the disability community as well as those who are not disabled.

I really just want to take this opportunity to share the poster. I have no been more excited and terrified about a show in my entire life.

Tomorrow I am doing a directing workshop with 60 high school students. I've never given a directing workshop in my entire life.

Should be interesting.

God is Love?

I had drinks with a friend the other night. He wanted to talk about God. Specifically, where God fits in if you don't believe, but want to. Its an interesting question. Its an interesting word, also. God.


Its something that means so many different things to so many different people.

An Appetite for Americans

Day 10. Still no cigarettes.

There's something about quitting smoking that has made me want to spend less time thinking about my emotional psychology. Or perhaps its just spring.

I've seen two fantastic pieces of theatre this week. On Wednesday afternoon I saw The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. It is written by a New York writer named Stephen Adly Guirgis. The play was directed by David Ferry, and it played at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District. As far as I can tell, the Fermenting Cellar is, in fact, an old fermenting cellar. So, one may imagine the images this conjures.

Cancer Lives

I am still a non-smoker.

It is getting easier.

Today was the first day I did not feel crazy about it.

Tomorrow will be one-week anniversary.

Next year's theatre season's are being announced, including the Theatre Passe Muraille season. Its a pretty remarkable season, as it is entirely made up of work BY or FOR people who are NOT white. I am more excited for some of the work than others (particularly YICHUD/SECLUSION, which I will be acting in). It did, however, raise an interesting question for me about what and why a white Artistic Director programs an entire season of work that is pointedly multi-cultural. I'm not sure I have an actual opinion about it, nor should I, but it does make me wonder ....

Smoking Is For Sissies.

I quit smoking.

That's an embarrassing confession. Mostly because I had to accept that I had started again. I had quit for a year and a half, and in November I started again while spending a month in New York performing in my play, Spain.

Michael -vs- Blog

Michael - Blog?

Blog - Yes, Michael?

Michael - I feel like I've been neglecting you.

Blog - I don't feel neglected.

Michael - Just, hear me out for a sec.

Blog - I'm a bit busy.


(BLOG slowly takes a seat, making itself available to Michael)

Michael - THANK-YOU.

Blog - What's on your mind?

Michael - It's just ... when I first started to write on you, I was so full of hope. So excited about it.

Blog - And now ...?

Michael - Well, I don't know. Today it feels almost like a bit of a chore.

Blog - I see.

Michael - No you don't. You don't even care.

Blog - Of course I care.

Michael - Well you don't ACT like you care.

Blog - What does that mean?

The Altruistic Myth?

Today brings thoughts of altruism, by way of Camus, by way of myself by way of ... ?

Last night I received two phone calls from two different friends who were amidst a feud. I was put in the middle of the argument. At first, I felt confused. Why me? Why call me? What can I do?

Panels are for panelists

Sunday night. Monday morning. Lying in my bed, where I often lay, working on my computer (facebook).

PCC finished. It was ... hm ... it was. Well, to begin with, the panel, my panel, the moderator for my panel, who had prepared a wonderful bit of moderation ... I walked into the room where the panel was to be held, and he lay strewn across a series of chairs. He had a terrible fever and was quite sick, and it was determined that there was no way he could do the panel. He went home, or to a clinic, or something. Not quite sure. And so, I was given the task of running the panel.

PCC, ME, and my new girlfriend.

It's 12:30 AM and I wonder why there are not many people on facebook. Am I missing a party? I hate missing parties that I didn't know I was missing. It makes me feel very unpopular. If I'm going to miss a party, I like to know that it was my choice to miss it. Not being invited to the party is actually a very real fear of mine. When I was acting with more regularity, when I would NOT get auditions for things, I took it very personally. It felt like a personal assault. Needless to say, I am much happier now that I spend less time thinking about acting, and more time thinking about my impending death.

Candlelight and Waffles

I am sitting by a candle at my kitchen table at 5:00 in the morning. I've lit the candle and sat at the table, already aware that before I sat down to write this, my first line would be about sitting at my table, by a candle, at 5 in the morning.

I've been wrestling a lot with consciousness these days.

It Begins

So, the first thing I should say is that I am not actually a writer, nor did I write my play, My Fellow Creatures. It is a play from 2002 that was written by a woman who trusted me with the piece, asked me keep it safe for her, and publish it after her death as an homage to her life. And so, I did, and have told everyone that I wrote it, and now, here I am, the writer in residence for the month of April.

And the next thing I should say is you've just been privy to my first attempt at an April Fools Joke.

How'd I do?

Alright. Back to business.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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