One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I was warned, not once, not twice, but three times, “this show will be totally different than the movie”. As a big fan of the movie, I took the advice to heart.

It was my first venture into the Woodstock Opera House. My friend Mike asked “where is Lincoln sitting?” It was a great venue and we had perfect seats. The chief opened and I was very confused about his initial dialogue, and quickly realized I needed to pay attention.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the setting is the 1960’s, in the Pacific Northwest at the Day Room in a ward of a State Mental Hospital. Randle McMurphy (Rikki Lee Travolta), a criminal who has been sentenced to a fairly short prison term, decides to have himself declared insane so he'll be transferred to a mental institution, where he expects to serve the rest of his term free of prison labor and in comfort and luxury.

His ward in the mental institution is run by an unyielding tyrant, Nurse Ratched (Kate Curtin), who has cowed the patients (most of whom are "voluntary" or there by choice) into dejected institutionalized submission. McMurphy becomes ensnared in a number of power games with Nurse Ratched for the hearts and minds of the patients. All the time, however, the question is just how sane any of the players in the ward actually are and whether they really belong there.

Throughout the story, McMurphy becomes friends with several patients including Dale Harding (Michael Hillstrom),  Billy Bibbit (Brendan Gaughan), Charles Adkins Chiswick III (Steve Sturm), Frank Scanlon (Johnny Vuke), Anthony Martini (Jim Pierce), Ruckley (Jake Seelye) and Chief Bromden (David Gasior).

Other members of the cast supporting the craziness were the aides - Aide Williams (Greg Waldyn), Aide Warren (Domenick Didiana), and Aide Turkle (Robert Boyd), Nurse Flynn (Abebi Aba), Dr. Spivey (Rob Cunningham), Candy Starr (Nicolette Decicco) and Sandra (Jess Smith).

The performance by the Townsquare Players was directed by Randall Knott and produced by Roger Zawacki. As part of a lively audience, we were treated to a range of emotion from laughter to sadness, from depression to fright. The chemistry on stage between Travolta and Curtin was amazing. Their ability to stay within character with all of the madness on stage was impressive. They also really played well with the “patients”.

Overall, I really enjoyed the show. It was the first time I saw a stage performance after II watched the movie. I was especially impressed with how Knott was able to tell the story within the space limitation of one room. The cast was great, the stage was fantastic, the venue was very impressive and the audience was engaged.

The only thing left to say is:

Three geese in a flock.

One flew east, one flew west,

One flew over the cuckoo's nest.

O-U-T spells OUT,

Goose swoops down and plucks you out.

Additional Performances will be held June 24 and 25 8:00 pm and June 26 at 3:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at 815.338.5300

Review submitted by Sir William from 2 Dudes and The Duchess.

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