Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

PCC, ME, and my new girlfriend.

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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.

Today was the first day of Performance Creation Canada. It all began with WAFFLES and MIMOSAS. I had neither, as I slept through the entire thing. I also missed the second event, which was Show and Tell. It was raining, and the event was across town, and by showing something, I would be leaving myself vulnerable to being judged, and today was just not the day for that.

Today WAS the day for taking myself out for breakfast. Which I did. I love taking myself out for breakfast, but for some reason, I always feel like I'm misbehaving. Perhaps its because I ALWAYS order Bacon or Sausages, and I'm Jewish --though have always eaten Bacon and Sausages. I am SHOCKED at how many people ask me if I eat pork. Amazing, really. Are there really any urban Jews in the arts who keep kosher? That is, like, so un-kosher.

sorry. that joke popped into my head, and i had to use it. i HAD to. sorry.

I've just scrolled back and read my blog post thus far and it appears that I have officially made this blog my girlfriend. Which means, if you are reading this right now, you are also my girlfriend. Yes. Even you, John. And you too, Bob. And, um, you too, um, David?

(the blog gently taps Michael on the shoulder)

Blog - (under breath) pssst. Michael?

Michael - What is it, Blog?

Blog - You need to try to keep it together. Try and remember that this is the point that you usually alienate yourself from other people. People are here to enjoy your blog, enjoy your mind, enjoy your thoughts.

Michael - But this is my mind, Blog.

Blog - Yes, Michael, yes, but take your time. Let them get to know you a bit better first, before you reveal your insanity. Remember that you are also intelligent. Why not try talking about SMART things?

Michael - What if they don't think I'm smart? What if they just think I'm stupid?

Blog - Sometimes, Michael, you need to just trust.

Michael - Trust?

Blog - Yes, Michael. Trust.

(Michael thinks about this for a moment. He scratches his head, and he ponders all the moments he has experienced mistrust in his life. He cries, gently, at the pain of all that terrible disappointment. His tears turn to sobs. It is awkward for everyone. Three hours later, the tears subside. And when the tears have cleared, the sun appears. And with the sun comes hope. And with that hope, comes a new sort of determination for Michael. A new path. Michael splashes water on his face from a nearby stream, and he skips over to the kitchen table where his computer sits. He turns it on, and he looks tenderly at his BLOG. He strokes the screen, and pours a glass of wine. And then ... )
Michael - You're right, Blog.

Blog - I'm right?

Michael - You are. I need to trust you. I haven't been trusting you.

Blog - No, you need to trust yourse--

Michael - Shhh. No words necessary. I trust you, Blog. I trust you not to betray me.

Blog - I'm really not comfortable with you making me take on something that is YOUR responsibility.

Michael - And that's okay, Blog, because I trust you. I do.

Blog - You're not listening to me.

Michael - I love you too.

(Michael turns up the Music, and tunes out the Blog.)

Michael (whispering under his breath) I love you SO MUCH, blog. So much.

***

Okay.

Performance Creation Canada.

The unofficial theme of the day was "The Archive".

It began with a keynote talk from "performance/video" artist, Jillian McDonald. Its very odd to watch an artist give a talk about their work. No. That's a generalization. It was odd to watch Jillian McDonald talk about her work. She stood up in front of a small crowd, and went through her canon. The canon itself was quite impressive. I don't want to get into it here, because I would not do it justice, mostly because the amount of time it would take me to do it justice feels boring to me. (I've included a link to her website, which you should visit). I will say, though, that I was interested in how detached she seemed to be from her work as she spoke about it. I wondered if it was because she loved her work so much that if she were to let herself love her work as she was sharing it, she would be robbing us of the experience of getting to love it ourselves. I was certainly "taken" by her work, but I think I would have loved it even more if I got to witness her enjoying her own work with us. Of course she loves her work. She must, right? Why else do it. I have to admit that watching other people have feelings is a bit of a fetish for me. I wonder if this is why I am so drawn to the theatre. And women who cry a lot.

Blog (interjecting) - Michael ...

Michael - Too much?

(The BLOG stares blankly at Michael, blinking a bit.)

Michael - Gotcha.

Okay. So. After Jillian, and a quick trip to Starbucks (the horror!), I bought a ticket for MAKE ME STOP SMOKING, by Rabih Mroué (a co-production between the IMAGES FESTIVAL and HARBOURFRONT).

Let me take a quick moment to plug Harbourfront and the World Stage Festival. If you've not been, or not know much about it, you are missing out on some of the absolute best theatre you'll get to see on a Toronto Stage. Tina Rasmussen, the powerhouse behind the World Stage Festival, spends the entire year traveling the world, finding the best work to bring to the World Stage Festival. And it really is just that. Here's a shout out to Tina for being such a tireless contributor to sharing the best theatre in the world with Toronto. I urge you to go to everything Tina and World Stage programs.

The show itself was wonderful. Rabih Mroué is a Lebanese artist. His piece is about his own personal archive. The pieces of his archive that he has held on to, in hopes of someday using them in a piece of art. And that is what he does. He shares his archive. He sits at a desk, with his laptop, a microphone, and a script, and he tells us the story behind each of his archived material, using anecdotes, images and film. Very simple, yet so very complex. The piece leaves us with the question of what it means to archive--our work--but more universally, our lives. It asks us to think about the archives of our own lives, the things we hold on to, the stories we are trying to tell, why we hold on to them, and ultimately, asks us who we are, if anybody, without the fragments of our lives that make up our story. Our character, as it were.

I loved it.

I felt quite tired after show. The questions felt very pertinent to this blog, actually. The writing of this blog is a sort of archive. The Jillian McDonald talk was her also sharing her archive. The show I am doing in May, The Book of Judith, is an archive, and pretty much all art is in some way, an archive. Every moment, really, is both a moment lived, and then a moment archived. Stored, somewhere, in memory, conscious or unconsciously, they are all there, informing everything.

Whew.

Okay. Okay. That's enough of that. Consciousness overload.

That will be all for now.

Tomorrow is a day of Panels. I'm looking forward to them. In the back of my mind, I always expect panels to fail. They often do. Sometimes they don't. When they do, it is boring and painful. When they don't, they can be quite wonderful. I'm not sure if the one I've put together is going to fly. I can see it bombing. I can see is being luminous. (For the record, I don't use the word "luminous" in real life. I'm just trying to sound smart).

Blog - See, Michael, that is the sort of thing you don't have to say on here.

Michael - But its what popped into my mind.

Blog - You need to start filtering things.

Michael - That's not my style.

Blog - Change your style.

Michael - Why?

Blog - You're going to alienate people. They're going to stop liking you.

Michael - How do you know?

Blog - Remember your childhood? Remember how the kids teased you?

Michael - Do you really need to bring that up?

Blog - Its for your own good.

Michael - You're making it very difficult to trust you, Blog.

Blog - I never asked you to trust me. I just asked you to use me.

Michael - That sounds so crass.

Blog - Perhaps. But at least its honest.

Michael - Which is what I am TRYING to be with you.

Blog - True.

Michael - Cut me some slack.

Blog - Fine.

Michael - Fine?

Blog - Fine. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Michael - Well ... thanks, BLOG, for the warning.

Blog - I do love you, Michael, you know that, right?

Michael - Let's just take it slow, kay? Get to know each other better before we start using words like "love" and "relationship".

Blog - Relationship? Who said anything about a relationship?

Michael - Let's stop talking now.

Blog - Good idea.

xoMichael.

1 comment

Ya know what's great at 1 something in the morning, when you feel like your blog is the love you know best...?

Waffles.

http://adventuresinschnooville...

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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Michael Rubenfeld

Michael Rubenfeld is a writer, director, actor and producer. His plays include Present Tense, Spain and My Fellow Creatures.

Go to Michael Rubenfeld’s Author Page