Bemidji Community Theater Sets Stage for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
In 1962, Ken Kesey published his first novel, titled “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which highlighted the way psychology and psychiatry was practiced in the time. Now over 60 years and several adaptations later, this story is being brought to life by Bemidji Community Theater.
“It’s the inner workings of a mental institution from the late ’60s, early ’70s…” explained actor David Moffett, who plays Dale Harding. “And it is interrupted by, kind of, a wild maverick character, who sort of disrupts the comfort level that everybody has, and lets them reflect on why they’re really there.”
“Cuckoo’s Nest” is perhaps best known for its cast of characters, from the narrator of few words, Chief Bromden, to the controlling Nurse Ratched, with the play’s actors all getting a chance to bring their interesting and unique characters to life.
“The most challenging aspect is that, I’m a completely different person,” said actor Ann Marie Newman, who plays Nurse Ratched. “I’m a bleeding heart person! I feel everything, I’m very empathic, and Nurse Ratched lacks complete empathy.”
Community is a topic that crops up frequently in “Cuckoo’s Nest,” which makes this performance even more fitting, as it required a troupe of actors from all across the community to band together to make it possible.
“We’ve been just a fun team, and as we’ve gone along and learned our lines and learned the layout of the play and the set and all our cues and light and sound, it’s just been fun to work with these people,” said actor Joseph Boudreau, who plays Chief Bromden.
“And in a way, in community theater it’s kinda like working in a nuthouse,” joked Moffett. “I mean, there’s a blend of people that we’re compelled to get along. That’s the rules and regulations of community theater, kinda like the rules and regulations of ‘Cuckoo’s Nest.'”
The play will open Thursday, Feb. 2 and go through Sunday, Feb. 12 at the BCT’s Performing Arts Center. Performances on the 5th and 12th are set to take place at 2 p.m., while the remaining shows will be at 7 p.m. More information on the play along with tickets can be found at the Bemidji Community Theater website.
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