Central Alberta Theatre presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Central Alberta Theatre launched performances of their third production for the season, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest last week at City Centre Stage with shows running through April 12.

Curtain is at 7:30 p.m.

Written by Dale Wasserman and directed by Jeremy Robinson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest features a full cast of 14 talented members.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a social commentary on the degradation and humiliating circumstances that surrounded mental institutions in the 1960s and Wasserman’s colourful script was able to demonstrate those issues.

The solid cast, under careful direction from Robinson, captures the audience through powerful body language and excellent casting to suit the characters. The play was a well-performed insight into the sensitive history of mental institutions.

Set in 1962, R.P McMurphy (Mike Mohr) is brought into a psychiatric institution to escape a work-farm jail sentence.

There he meets loveable and nervous Billy Bibbit (Ian Sheppard), protective Dale Harding (Keith Ainscough) and the unstable but kind other patients in the ‘group’, Scanlon (Michael Sutherland) and Cheswick (Jay Chahley).

When McMurphy first arrives at the institute, he is rebellious and edgy as he seeks to exert his power and personality over the other patients. The audience sees him be ground down by Nurse Ratched (Lisa Robinson) and her malicious guards (Steve Suk and Daniel Vasquez).

McMurphy’s erratic and strangely sensitive character is brought to life by Mohr’s energetic and dedicated performance.

As the story progresses, we are given insight into a metaphor of a ‘combine’, narrated by Chief Bromden (Jason Steele). It represents the authorities of Nurse Rached and the idea of the patients being controlled by subtle manipulations put in place by the institute and government.

The other characters are faced with their fears of rebelling against their system. The theme culminates in a memorable scene of McMurphy attempting to lift an extraordinarily heavy object to throw at the window – “At least I tried!”

The inspiration of McMurphy spreads among the patients and soon they each receive a moment to shine and exert their development.

Sheppard was especially bright and displayed great acting talent while he captivated the audience in his character’s pivotal and crucial scene.

The strong cast carries the play along to a fulfilling finale. There are laughs to be had amongst the stirring and intriguing look into 1960s psychiatric care.

Wasserman’s writing really drives home with audiences and works well to convey the messages of the story without drowning the public in monologues. The evidence of hard work from writer Wasserman and director Robinson is apparent.

Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre by calling 403-755-6626 or online at www.blackknightinn.com.