RFK in EKY The Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project: Recreating Robert Kennedy's two-day, 200 mile
The RFK in EKY Library
Documentation Memorabilia & Commemoration Assessment Studies Project Archive Links
John Malpede: Article for RFK Memorial

'Unlike, just about every 'historical recreation' I'm aware of, this project is not about recreating a battle, or any other kind of violence. It's about ideas. The force of ideas and about the history of ideas. It's about the problems confronting the region and the nation then and now. Its about social policies of the sixties and now. And ultimately it's about the level of political dialogue then and now. And for that reason it's simultaneously heart breaking and elevating.'

Linda Burnham: Knowing How To Hold It: The Work of John Malpede
Linda Frye Burnham has been writing about John Malpede's work for 27 years. She was the founding editor of High Performance magazine and is co-director of Art in the Public Interest and the Community Arts Network on the World Wide Web.

'Some 30 years ago, in my first editorial in High Performance magazine, I crafted a definition of great art. I take it out once in a while and wind it up to see if it still works: Great art is that which holds humanity up to the light in a way not done before, in a way to jar the soul.'
For the complete article see: PDF

Louise Smith: RFK in EKY: FAKING IT
Louise Smith, actress and theater director, a professor of theater at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

'I put on the dress. The dress was old, of cotton, long. Being the actor that I am, I couldn't help but supply some kind of back story, while at the same time wondering if I really knew enough about the experience of someone in Whitesburg in 1963 to play the part convincingly. I decided it didn't matter. I became a woman with four kids and a husband on disability. My imagination was captured and I was, like all actors, two people now: the character and the actor who is playing the part.'
For the complete article see: PDF

Judy Jennings
Judy Jennings, a historian, is the director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Louisville, KY.

'As Director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, my first thought about participating in the RFK Performance Project was to find someone among Kennedy's entourage with feminist leanings and “play the part” of that person. Although I am the product of strong women ancestors from Appalachia, I am sorry to say that it did not occur to me that the persons with feminist leanings would be the local women who testified before Kennedy's ad hoc hearings of the Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment, and Poverty. But there they were.'
For the complete article see: PDF

Jane Hirshberg: RFK in EKY: Maximum feasible participation
Jane Hirshberg is partnerships director at Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

'When I heard Jack Faust re-enact this speech in Kentucky in 2004, its relevance to what is happening in today's political, social and cultural arenas was striking to the point of being shocking. These words about the war that rocked our country for so many years rang like truth and wisdom, now at a time when war is, once again, dividing our populace and shaking up how we think and feel about finding truth, understanding reality and acting on our convictions.'
For the complete article see: PDF

Jan Cohen-Cruz: Time Traveling with RFK
Jan Cohen-Cruz is professor of Theater at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

'Attending RFK in EKY as a spectator and a writer, I felt like I was time traveling, back and forth, between 1968 and now. This experience might be expected for those cast in the performance; it was noteworthy for drawing everyone present into its world as a participant, snapping us back into the present, and then reeling us back 36 years again. We all, cast and audience, got a glimpse of the bad and the good of '68: Appalachia a backwater, dirt roads, dire poverty; RFK wanting to insert the testimony of people living that life into the public record, trying to make the war on poverty more effective, and local people making themselves heard. (We don't, of course, have a war on poverty now; imagine living in a time when there's even such a program to critique.) Then suddenly we'd be back in 2004, jumping into someone's car to drive to the next site of testimony, part of a real motorcade with real police holding back other cars so we could stay together. And talking, talking, talking, politics, gossip, observations, for three days straight.'
For the complete article see: PDF

Jack Faust :
My thoughts regarding my participation in the RFK in EKY project
Jack Faust is a lawyer and performed the part of RFK. Since the production Jack closed his private practice in Hazard, KY and moved to Nashville where he is working as an attorney in the public defender's office.

'Before I had spoken with John and Henriette about the Kennedy Project, I had given little thought to Kennedy's trip to Eastern Kentucky. The events of the months following February, 1968 obscured my vague recollection. Viet Nam; LBJ quitting the presidential race; the death of Martin Luther King; and the assassination of Robert Kennedy overshadowed the two-day trip to Kentucky. Over the years my recurring image of the life of RFK was the embodiment of the words spoken at Kennedy's funeral by his brother Ted:

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”'
For the complete article see: PDF

Shannon M. Turner: RFK in EKY Reflections
Shannon Turner is a MFA student at Virginia Tech.

'In August of this year, I entered a new program here at Virginia Tech called MFA in Directing & Public Dialogue. I am here to learn about the intersection of art and community and how they can create each other with synergy and power.'
For the complete article see: PDF

Marloes van der Hoek, Menno Vink, Marieke Kuttscheutter and Heiner Berends: FRANK MOHR DAGTEKSTEN (Frank Mohr student diaries)
Four MFA students in scenography from the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen, the Netherlands, joined the project during the last month. They were students of Sjoerd Wagenaar, a long time collaborator of John Malpede, who advised on the project, but was unable to be in Kentucky during the production period due to family illness. The Dutchies (as they were nick named) lived in Whitesburg and there hard work was invaluable in realizing the project. They took on the 'recreation' / installation at the one room school house in Barwick. Each one took on some specific assignments as well: Marlous designed the RFKinEKY Newspaper, Marieke made the 'dead cows on the strip mine', Heiner designed the RFKin EKY exhibition and printed the pictures for it, and Menno designed, made and installed all the RFKinEKY road signs along the tour.
Here are some excerpts from their emails to their teacher Sjoerd Wagenaar: 'back home'.

For the complete texts (in Dutch) and pictures go to :