Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Drama Workshop Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

The Drama Workshop's presentation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an awesome production.  The actors work together flawlessly.

One critic calls One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a Comedy-Drama.  After seeing the play I think it could also be called a Comedy-Tragedy. It reminds me of the traditional two masks that symbolize theater, the happy one and the unhappy one.

The action takes place in a state mental hospital in the Pacific Northwest in 1965. The cast which include patients, visitors, and hospital staff is large, sixteen actors, all of whom are significant in creating the mental hospital atmosphere of the 1960s and in advancing the action.  Joseph Penno, Jr. did an admirable job in directing this strong cohesive presentation.

The Patients:  Chris Bishop as Cheswick
                      Geoffrey Hill as Billy Bibbit
                      Bill Keeton as Dale Harding
                      Ray Lebowski as Martini
                      Ron Samad as Chief  Bromden
                      Kent Smith as Ruckley
                      Jim Waldfogle as Scanlon
                      Steffen Whorton as R. P. McMurphy                 

The Visitors: Julia Hedges as Candy Starr
                      Amy Mirlisena as Sandra

The Staff:     Clint Bramkamp as Dr. Spivey
                     Gretchen Gantner as Nurse Ratched
                     Jody Hart as Nurse Flinn
                     Kevin Noll as Aide Turkle
                     Scott Unes as Aide Williams
                     Doug Tumeo as Aide Warren

The following scenes were staged so Elaine Volker could take photos.  The photos were not taken during a performance.

 Gretchen Gantner as Nurse Ratched  and Steffen Whorton as Randle P. McMurphy, a new patient, pit themselves against one another in a battle to the finish.  They have declared war and neither will accept defeat.

The results of their clashes lead to lots of funny moments in the first act.

McMurphy decides that there should be more entertainment than card playing.

He talks the patients into a basketball game.  Nurse Ratched is not amused.

The silent Indian Chief is a challenge for McMurphy.  Here he learns some surprising things about the chief.

The patients and nurses react to McMurphy's visitor.  Nurse Ratched is not pleased.

Candy and her friend, Sandra,  come for a late night visit by way of an opened window.  This is the high point of McMurphy's hi-jinks and the beginning of the end.

Nurse Ratched decides to take stronger steps.

By the end of the first act it is clear that the antics and retaliations will lead to tragic results.

The second act calls up complicated emotional responses in viewers.  If drama is not your cup of tea, this might not be a play you would like.  But, still,  you would  find plenty to laugh about during the first act. The play contains profanity and strong language which may also offend some people.

However, if you like to see plays that stretch your understanding of life, this is a play you won't want to miss.  The play works on a surface level but it also works on deeper levels.  It brings up questions about how individuals can exist as themselves in conformist-loving society.  Power... who should have it, and how to deal with those who have it... is also brought up.

The play reminded me of a quote from E. E. Cummings that I keep on my refrigerator.

"To be yourself in a world that is doing its best, day and night to make you like everyone else is  to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

As always, I checked sources on the Internet for more information about the play.  The play has won several Tony Awards.   It is annually produced world-wide, generally about 300 productions each year.

The book from which the play was created is recognized as one of the great books of the twentieth century.  It was written by Ken Kesey in 1962.  The book is still critiqued by book clubs and in college classes. seeking the deeper meanings behind the words on the page.  If you are interested in these deeper insights, look for articles on the Internet.

The now classic  play was written by Dale  Wasserman.

Little extras that I liked about the presentation include the actors wandering about on the stage before the play piquing audience curiosity.

As always, the refreshments at intermission reflect the place and period of the play.  For this play, the lobby is the mental hospital's canteen.

Hostesses at this section of the canteen are Marsha Grant and Vickie Greco.  Vickie is the Usher Coordinator and Marsha is an usher.  They are examples of the many hats that members of The Drama Workshop wear.

Below is a list of the crew  who contributed to making this presentation possible.  To make reading easier, click on the photo.

Two of the earlier performances sold out.  There are three more performances this coming weekend, November 21, 22, and 23, 2014.  For tickets, order online at

or call the TDW ticket line at 513-598-8303.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dining Room and Living Room Renewal

Our grandson, Eric, started  painting the walls for us.  Then Tom painted the ledges.  And I finished up the rest of the painting.  Last week the task was completed.

Here is a section of the dining paint, new chandelier, clean draperies, and new switch plate..

The new gold color on the walls is between the two  colors below.  Varying lighting throughout the days makes the color look different as do the shadows that move about with the lighting. It is noticeably more gold than the original color but still fairly light.

Tom made the red oak switch plate.  Our old switch plates were the originals for this 1960s era ranch.  The clear plastic covers were crazed from age,dried out and unsightly.

Tom replaced all of the switchplates in the living room and dining room.  First he cut the blanks.

After mitering the edges, he cut the necessary holes in the sample plate and laid it in place on the switch in the dining room.  That's when he discovered he would have to router out the underside of each plate because the switches were on  raised metal plates.

He made the red rubber-covered pusher to press on the switch plate as he made passes with it over the router bit.  He didn't want to risk cutting his fingers with the router blade.

After he routered out the underside, he used one of the original switch plates to mark the placement of the screw holes and switch holes.

He cut out the switch holes with the scroll saw.

He finished the switchplates with stain, followed by clear satin polyurethane. the next improvement replacing some of the old, old furniture?  Maybe.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lilian Nichols, October Class, Purple and Gold Leaves

Lilian has been encouraging us to try unusual combinations of colors. Here is a Skinner Blend she made using Gold and Purple.  Before she began blending, she mixed a little white into the purple so it would show as purple after baking, not dark brown.

She showed us several ways to stack it .  For this stack she kept the blend in a single sheet and folded it back and forth.

A few days ago I decided to make a Gold and Purple Skinner Blend and see what I came up with.  i started in the usual way remembering to fold the purple to the purple and the gold to the gold..

After I blended the colors,  I made a stack and started experimenting.  I added a few extra layers of gold and purple to the stack to get a little more contrast.  The completed leaves are in the middle of the photo.  To the right is the bead skewer I used to poke holes through the stem ends so I can string them on a necklace.  At the bottom are scraps which I made into a cane and then cut it into a Natasha bead.  The Natasha technique is the one that we used to make carolers and angels in an earlier class.

Part of the stack I cut into triangles and made leaves in which the layers mimicked  veins in the leaves.

Here are the leaves and the Natasha bead after baking.  That's when I realized I had forgotten to add a bit of white to the purple.  The purple looks more like burnt umber.  Oh, well.

I put together another array using the leaves I had just made and the leaves I made in September.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lilian Nichols, October Class, More experiments with Color and Techniques

The sheets of rolled polymer clay that Lilian started with are in the foreground of the top photo.  One stack is at the far back.  In the spot of sunlight is a stack wrapped with beige, another kind of stack to begin with.

Below are the layers twisted with purple added, a color she told us works well with autumn colors.

The rest of the examples are the results of Mary Ann's and Sally's experiments.  

Sally added a generous amount of glitter to her clay before she stacked it.  Then she pinched both ends.  Playing around she twisted the clay into the shape below.  We decided this would make a good ornament to hang on the Christmas tree.  It would also make a good small gift for a gift exchange.

Using the same stack, Sally twisted it another way and came up with this gourd.

Her next experiments were with a texture sheet, a rubber stamp and Pearl Ex.

The bits of flowers on the upper edge are from the texture sheet.  After stamping a leaf rubber stamp on the clay, she used a small brush to carefully brush Pearl Ex on the imprinted leaf design.

Mary Ann made a cane with circles.  After rolling out  the sheets of colors she wanted, she cut circles out of each one and stacked them.

Here is the beginning of her stack.

Here is her stack after being compressed and stretched a  little.

Here are some of her leaves.




The three upper leaves in photo 3 were textured with a texture sheet, then brushed lightly with Pearl Ex.  The leaf on the bottom is the same as the one in photo 2 but a bit of Pearl Ex gives it a sheen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lilian Nichols,September Class, Experimenting with Autumn Leaves

In September, Lilian brought some of her fall necklaces to show us.  Lots of them involve autumn leaves in various combinations of colors.  Our project was to experiment with fall colors using Skinner Blends and bull's eye canes.  Lilian also suggested we try some unusual colors just to see the results.

Below is a closer view of the one Lilian is wearing.

I especially liked these leaves that Lilian made.

She rubbed a little Pearl X which is a metallic powder on the leaves after she made them but before she baked them.  A very little Pearl X goes a long way so Lilian suggested using a finger to pick up a bit of it on the lid rather than poking our finger into the jar . It adds a shine to the baked clay. If too much is rubbed on, the colors of the project disappears.

Other leaves that Lilian brought as examples are in this photo.  The two leftmost leaves were made by mixing layers in a cane.  The next two are made from unmixed layers.  The stylized leaves were made by wrapping dull green around orange bull's eyes.  The largest leaf is an example of making an oak leaf.

Below are the colors Annette mixed.

And here are leaves she made, Some are made from Bull's Eyes and some are made from layers of color.  The one in the middle was made from left over scraps.

Below are Linda's experiments using layers, and using bull's eyes.  She also accepted Lilian's challenge to use unusual colors for her leaves.

Update December 2014

Annette brought in two necklaces she made using techniques she learned in this class and the October class.  See them below.