Tuesday, March 12, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 106



'Cuckoo's Nest' back at the Alley Theatre

By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff

Dale Wasserman's dramatization of Ken Kesey's classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has returned to the Alley Theatre.

This version was first staged at the Alley in 1992, when Gregory Boyd directed James Black and Annalee Jefferies as they portrayed Randall P. McMurphy and Nurse
Ratched, respectively.

Photo courtesy of T. Charles Erickson

From left, James Black stars as McMurphy and Todd Waite stars as Harding in the Alley Theatre's production of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Both actors reprise their role in Boyd's revival of the play, which reflects Kesey's adamant attitude against mental institutions and the institutions of the 1960s altogether.
It also embodies Kesey's symbolic cry to those who felt oppressed by government to search for truth.

Along with these ideas, the play relays the luminous world of acid trips and other recreational drugs a hallucinatory element often found in the works of writers from
the Beat generation.

Kesey, an American icon who contributed to both Jack Kerouac's Beat movement of the '50s and the Woodstock era of the '60s, is known as the captain of the
renowned bus Furthur. His trip, which was later recorded in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in which the "merry pranksters" rode high on LSD, served as
testament to where the counterculture movement was headed.

Unlike Milos Forman's Oscar-winning 1975 film version of the same title, Wassermann follows Kesey's novel more closely as he simulates a few drug-induced scenes
and, more importantly, treats Chief Bromden as a central figure in the story.

Bromden, played by Michael Nichols, describes his thoughts of the dreadful machinery and impenetrable fog just as Kesey wrote.

These are themes found in the play and not in the film, which makes Wasserman's version more distinct, if not better, when the idea of preserving Kesey's novel is

Black's rousing performance as the bull-goose loony complements Kesey's idea of the rebellious character as he riles the mental patients and irritates the head nurse
to perfection.

Jefferies' portrayal as the notorious Nurse Ratched is as wicked as ever. The character strolls the combine in immaculate form and is hardly affected by McMurphy's

There is more than enough entertainment for audiences it comes in the form of a stuttering Billy Bibbit (Ty Mayberry), a neurotic Redding (Todd Waite) and a
number of other patients in the ward.

Cuckoo's Nest is staged on the Alley's Large Stage Feb. 27 through March 23.

Tickets are $35 to $50. For more ticket information and a list of show times, call the box office at (713) 228-9341 or visit www.alleytheatre.org.

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