5 minutes with Lee Harvey Oswald Scratchpad | February

What if Lee Harvey Oswald and JFK survived and they started performing improv comedy together? What if we got in touch with the former and got him to write a blog for us? Read on to find out!

1. Tell us a bit about your performance and your players, how did the idea come about and who’s in it?

We first met in May 1959, at the El Toro base, while I was in the Marines. JFK was the hot shot politician visiting the base. When I first saw him, I was so haunted by him that I flubbed my Firearms Proficiency Appraisal that day, lost my Sharpshooter designation from it. We spent some time together while he was on the base, and then went our own ways.

It was only a few months later that I defected to the Soviet Union, but I never stopped thinking about him. Even if I’d wanted to, it would have been hard, his face was all over the news. I followed along every step of his political career, and even had a little celebration in my apartment when he became president.

It was two months after that that I first met Marina, and it really was love at first sight, but that didn’t mean I stopped thinking about JFK, just that my heart had room for more than one person in it.
I wish I could say that JFK didn’t play into my decision to move back to the US, but he did. And so I moved back, bringing both Marina, and June, the newest member of the family with me. I promised myself that I wouldn’t try and track him down, and I actually kept that promise. Not that it mattered, I ran into him by coincidence within a month of moving back. He was the president! There was no way I could have got to him, but he saw me, and he remembered me. 

Anyway, one thing led to another, and we both faked our own deaths (though it was a close thing, what with that dastardly Jack Ruby trying to kill me for real!). Then we cryogenically froze ourselves, got defrosted in the present, and now we’re living in Domestic Bliss.

We’ve always loved theatre, and particularly improvised comedy of the longform tradition. We often do little scenes with each other, while we’re just hanging around the house. Mostly just for fun, but sometimes as a way of working through a collective issue; it can be easier to approach things when you’re doing it as characters, and sometimes that lets you get a whole new perspective on it. One day we figured that we could do it on stage, and the idea came together.

2. What inspired you to put it on at Scratchpad? 

When we had our idea for our show, we immediately approached the Zapruder Twins (the younger, lesser known brothers of Abraham Zapruder, the man who shot the film which helped us fake JFK’s assassination). They loved the idea, and agreed to have us as a part of their Travelling Circus.

Unfortunately, we would soon come to realise that as well as being a part of their circus, we were also the totality of it. The two of them talked a big game, but didn’t have any other acts, or indeed any venue, or form of transportation.
All they had was a name, and due to the contracts we’d hastily signed with them, we had it to, whether we wanted it or not.

We had to find a stage by ourselves, and thankfully we found Scratchpad at the Bristol Improv Theatre. We may be well known as a president and an assassin, but we’re much less known as performers; Scratchpad was a wonderful opportunity for us to bring our show to the stage, and have time in front of an audience.

3. Which of the other groups have you been enjoying during the Scratchpad performances?

Both of them are lovely. Steampunk’d is a fun jaunt with incredible technology, much like the cryopods which brought me and JFK into the current millenium. GSCE Drama is a delightful play with the over seriousness of the young, and the pressures which are put on them at those exam times.

4. Where do you see the show going after you finish your run at Scratchpad? 

As long as me and JFK are still alive, and still living together in Domestic Bliss, we’ll have a cause to perform. The two of us are going to carry on doing this for as long as we can. Though who knows how long that’ll be. That dastardly Jack Ruby has been after us again recently, stalking up the time stream to get at us! We’re staying a few steps ahead of him though, and I very much doubt that he’ll catch us any time soon.

Scratchpad is on Wednesday 12th February. It’s Pay What You Decide and you can reserve a space here.

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