By Kathy Carpenter
March 9, 2023 (La Mesa) - Individuality versus conformity is an eternal conflict and in the case of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, man versus institution. More than that, this is a story of people, with a huge, wonderful cast full of characters to connect to and learn from. The play is emotionally impactful and well-acted; you leave Lamplighters theatre with an impression of right or wrong and individuality at all costs.
The title, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, comes from a children's nursery rhyme – “Wire, briar, limber lock. Three geese in a flock. One flew East,one flew west. One flew over the cuckoo's nest.” Such innocence is applied to such a deep topic. McMurphy, the main character (Jack Nicholson's role, for those of you who remember the movie) is a new free spirit arriving at a mental institution, a place filled with strict rules, policies and humans -- sane or not. McMurphy tries to build relationships with each person as he fights against the establishment, personified by Nurse Ratched.
Jenn Peters directs 16 actors in this play to pack a punch. Due to unforeseen circumstances, one of the leading roles had to be replaced two days before the opening. Michelle Burkhart went from a small role to taking on the part of Nurse Ratchet and was a force to be reckoned with. She will only grow stronger with each performance. Her counterpoint, the intriguing McMurphy, is played by Charles Peter, who did Nicholson proud with his own dynamic performance. The Chief, also a pivotal role, is played by George Bulahan, who turned in a soul-wrenching performance. The show also features M.G. Perez as Martini, one of the loonies, who mastered the art of seeing what wan’t there.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest featured a village of actors coming together in this thought provoking piece.
The setting is a day room in a ward of a state mental hospital, which Lamplighters did a good job presenting with a glass booth in the middle of the set for the nurses to work in. The costumes are what you would expect to find in a mental, sterile environment.
Escape your own issues and come watch others trying to survive in this insane world. Make your own judgment of what is right and just and enjoy some fascinating characters along the journey.
One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest
March 3 - 26
Honky Tonk Angels
April 21 - May 14, 2023