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 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.
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.