On the Set of the Cuckoo's Nest

By Michael Carens-Nedelsky

A hush fell over the crowd as the curtain rose, and the stage was shown in eerie green light. Standing alone, the figure of Chief Bromben muses to himself in a voiceover, "Papa, they’re foggin’ it in again. They’re foggin it in…"
This year, the Oakwood Theatre Society put on a production of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which ran December 3, 4 and 5. Based on the famous Ken Kesey novel of the same name, the story is a classic tale of fighting against the powers that keep all imprisoned. Viewed through the eyes of Chief Bromben (Jeff Sears), the asylum is a prison run by the tyrannical Nurse Ratched (Alessia Cosentino). The hospital is turned on its head however with the arrival of a new patient, the bawdy fun loving Randall Patrick McMurphy (Orion Keresztesi). McMurphy arrival rocks the lives of the patients and threatens to shatter the tortuous world Ratched has worked so hard to maintain.
The road to pulling such a play off was a long and bumpy one. Jeff Jones, the director for Cuckoo’s nest and Oakwood’s newest drama teacher, told us during one rehearsal that we were "stabbing him in the face with a knife!" "Have you ever tried to control 22 actors...19 of which were male?" ask Stephanie Scardellatto, stage manager of the play and head of Theatre Society. "Not to be too defeatist, but there were times when I was sure it was impossible." In the weeks leading up the performance, the actors stayed every night after school until 9:00 p.m. to get the play where it needed to be. And all this in the weeks leading up to exams.
But when the curtain went up on December 3, it was clear it had all been worth it. When the final curtain fell on a sold out crowd, the applause were thunderous. All those involved clearly felt it was worth it too, and felt sad that it had finally come to an end. Jeremy Powell, who played a lobotomy patient, felt as if "the play had died in my arms, and there was nothing I could do." Stephanie added that she felt "relief that it was over...but like anything good, I almost felt like I could have kept doing it forever."
With a cast off 22 people and a production crew that brought the total number of people who worked on Cuckoo’s Nest up to around 40 people, it would be impossible to mention everybody by name. On behalf of theatre society, we’d like to thank everyone who worked on One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, especially the crew, makeup and costumes departments, who are the behind the scenes wizards who make the magic happen. We’d also like to thank all of those who came out to see the play: your support made it all worth it. Special mention for Nick Lucifero, who not only can do a rubiks cube in under a minute but can also fall off a stage and have no one notice. Finally, to the stupid window, for being an outlet for our rage and frustration.

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