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Eugene Weekly : Theater : 2.3.11

 

A Different Flight Over the Cuckoos Nest

LCC production shines a new light on Kesey classic

by Anna Grace

The Blue Door Theatre is bedlam, with actors everywhere lying on the floor, stretching out their backs and trying on plaid hotpants for size. This is the perfect setting as I poked my head in to find out whats new about the upcoming production of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

Because every Oregonian already knows the old story, right? A bunch of guys unfairly trapped in an asylum where Jack NicholsonÄ er, I mean in-patient R.P. McMurphy goes head to head with a really mean nurse, and then something sad happens. The LCC Student Production Association suggests that it might be time to take another look at Ken Keseys novel.

Director Chris Pinto has chosen to tell the tale, as Kesey did, from the perspective of Chief Bromden, who, stripped of his culture, likewise strips himself of speech and pretends to be mute and deaf. Pinto has steeped the production in Native American music, trying to refocus Dale Wassermans 1963 style adaptation that put the charismatic character of McMurphy center stage.

Watch for newcomer Kunu Bearchum as the Chief. Bearchum sees Keseys asylum as society in miniature, saying Chief Bromden is "Äthe essence of the trapped Native American in AmericaÄ like many Native voices that can not be heard today.” Bearchum readily connects with his character and is anxious to share his message.

Sabra Slade, on the other hand, has found playing Nurse Ratchet "Ä a stretch, and an eye opening experience, attempting to connect with a character that is so disconnected from reality.

"If I do my job right, Ill be the most despised person on campus,” Slade says of playing the character that is arguably the most disturbed person in the asylum.

Pinto says he is excited about the upcoming production. "Its been a good experience for these kids,” he says of his cast, made up entirely of student actors, "and I think its going to be one of the best things Ive done in a long time.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest opens 8pm Thursday, Feb. 3, at LCCs Blue Door Theatre, 4000 E. 30th Ave.; also 8pm Friday & Saturday, Feb. 4-5; play continues through Feb. 20; for a full schedule, tickets & further information, visit www.lanecc.edu/tickts or call 463-5761.