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New Play Aims to Separate JFK and His Presidency From 'Prevailing Myths'

By Adeshina Emmanuel | November 20, 2013 6:30am
Reflections from the Cast of "The Interview:JFK."
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Alan Marshall

UPTOWN — What if President John F. Kennedy had sat down with a roomful of folks from across America to speak with complete and unabashed honesty about his personal life and the state of U.S. affairs?

Chicago playwright Alan Marshall's new play "The Interview: JFK," aims to answer that question and will kick off a three-day stint at Uptown's National Pastime Theater on Friday, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death. The theater is located inside the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave.

Marshall's play, according to a preview, seeks to "separate JFK, the man and president, from the prevailing myths surrounding his life and presidency."

JFK’s untimely death prevented him from being able to write his memoir,” Marshall said. “Consequently, many others have written about him, but we do not hear his voice.”

 President John F. Kennedy, just minutes before his assasination in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963.
President John F. Kennedy, just minutes before his assasination in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963.
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Wikimedia Commons/Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News

The play, a work of fiction, is set in August 1963 at a secret town hall forum. At the forum, Kennedy (played by Sam Fain) and his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (played by Matthew Collins) answer questions from two moderators (played by Daniel Sappington and Charlie Irving) and an audience comprised of people from across the country.

Of course, even in a make-believe world, there would have to be a catch to such an arrangement: "No reporters, no recording, and everyone in attendance had to sign a confidentiality agreement which would be enforced, if necessary, by the FBI," according to a preview of the play.

Act one of the play focuses on the former president's upbringing, personal life and career as a fledgling politician. The second act explores numerous pivotal events of his 1,000-day presidency, including the Bay of Pigs conflict, the Civil Rights Movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“What the general public is most familiar with regarding President Kennedy are his assassination and the salacious details that have been attached to his legacy,” Marshall said. “What is missing from the national conversation is the degree to which he evolved as president and his bold and far-reaching initiatives on civil rights and world peace.”

The opening night performance will be capped by a party, the "White House East Room Soiree," where audience members will have the chance to eat, drink, hear music and meet with the cast and creative team behind the play.

Performance schedule for "The Interview: JFK"

Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 - 3 p.m.

Tickets cost $25, while tickets to the opening night performance and soiree cost $50. To buy a ticket, click here.