On the 24th of November 1963, Jack Ruby gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald live on national television. He could hardly deny it; twenty million witnesses watched him do it. In effect, Ruby took Oswald's place as the keeper of a secret. Did Jack Ruby ever talk? In fact, what actually happened to Jack Ruby?
This play is his story.
It's underpinned by factual, on-the-record evidence from Ruby's trial, from his testimony to the Warren Commission, his responses to polygraph and psychiatric testing and from messages secreted out of the Dallas County Jail.
It's a story you won't have heard.
What do I need?
This show isn't backed by any funding or production company and I'm asking for your support because it's been given a marvellous opportunity to be performed on 42nd Street in New York as part of the United Solo Festival.
The play has received acclaim from audiences and reviewers wherever it's played, most notably at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
"Barry's portrayal of Ruby is absolutely terrific" The List ****
"I wish this wonderful show could have been longer" Plays International ****
"utterly compelling" Nomination for Best Actor (Buxton Fringe)
"Mesmerising...Barry inhabits and humanises Ruby" Sci-Fi Bulletin
"the depth of research that went into this production shines through" Broadway Baby ****
I'm looking for your help to cover the costs of getting to New York, staying there for ten days, employing a local technical operator to run the show and for the show to be listed in the appropriate media journals and online websites. £1900 will allow me to do all those things. United Solo is the biggest festival of solo dramas in the world and it's an honour to be invited to take the show to New York in November. I hope you'll help me to reach my target and get it there.
History of the show
I've been a professional actor for over twenty five years; working in theatre, television and film. One thing that I hadn't done was a one-man show - that opportunity to be alone on a stage and tell an audience a story. Annoyingly, no one had magically appeared with a script and a contract so it became obvious that, if I really wanted to do a solo drama, I would have to do it, fittingly, alone.
In 2012 I decided that it had to be done, so where to start? Obviously, I'd need a subject. There's an adage about writing about what you know about and that became my starting point. Over the years, I've been fascinated by the world of conspiracy theories - not necessarily buying into them all on a personal level but loving the opportunity to be able to drop a "here's something you may not know" bombshell into conversation. One event that had fascinated me for many years was the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and with the fiftieth anniversary of his death approaching it struck me that it could be a good time to do a show that looked at those momentous events of November 1963. My subject immediately became obvious - a man in his fifties, fighting a losing battle with his weight, his hair and his finances (I could relate to all of those!); a man who happened to be, according to the billing, "the man who shot the man who shot the President": Jacob Rubenstein aka Jack Ruby, slayer of Lee Harvey Oswald.
I began my research and the results genuinely shocked me - everything I'd believed about Jack Ruby was wrong.
The show was eventually written, I drafted in my good friend Clive Holland to direct it, and we opened at the Summer Squall Festival in Ramsgate, followed by performances at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury and the Tom Thumb Theatre in Margate. What became clear from those three try-out performances in 2012 was that audiences found Ruby's story as captivating as I did. The plan for 2013 was to take the show to as many UK fringe festivals as I could and that's exactly what I did - Brighton, Oxford, Bath, Bedford and Buxton before a three week run at the Edinburgh Fringe. Each time it received the same reaction from its audiences - they were genuinely fascinated by the life story of Jack Ruby and the questions that his involvement in the events following the Kennedy assassination raised. Happily the reviewers agreed with the audiences.
At that stage, I hadn't really thought beyond 2013 but there were a couple of festivals that I wanted to go to that I hadn't been able to fit in - the SOLO London and Henley Fringe - those dates are now in the diary for this year:
SOLO Festival (London) - 13th, 20th & 27th July
Henley Fringe Festival - 25th & 26th July
New York, November 2014
The invitation to play the United Solo Festival has added a different dimension to the year. It's a terrific compliment and the opportunity to take the show to the United States is one I want to seize with both hands.
Risks and challenges
A potential challenge involves the recruitment of a local technical operator - something I will use the database resources of United Solo to attend to.
Promotion of the show, whilst in another country, presents a challenge - part of my fundraising target is aimed at marketing the show in appropriate journals and websites.
- (30 days)