PITTSBORO --When your Thanksgiving guests start driving you crazy, take them to this ambitious stage production of the award-winning Ken Kesey novel/Dale Wasserman drama. And be thankful that you are not locked up together on a mental ward with Nurse Ratched.
Director Ellen Bland, Stage Manager Drew Lasater and others from the award-winning "Millworker" cast return to Pittsboro's historic Chatham Mills for a dark and rowdy tale. It's a perfect setting for what happens when an irrepressible 1960's rebel, Randall Patrick McMurphy, ends up in a state mental hospital.
"We've taken out the profanity while honoring a serious drama that raises important questions about what constitutes mental illness when society has gone mad," said director Bland, who drew her 'Cuckoo' cast from her acting students at Central Carolina Community College and a few community stalwarts.
The story will be familiar to anyone who has read Kesey's best-selling novel, or seen Wasserman's play (which ran most recently on Broadway in 2001 with Gary Sinise) or Milos Forman's academy-award-winning 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher.
The Pittsboro production features Regina Gallagher (seen in Millworker, Vagina Monologue and Temple Theater stage) and Emily York (CCCC productions) alternately playing the wretched Ratched. Other practiced Millworker performers include Siler City family doctor Jim Schwankl as head shrink Dr. Spivey and Matthew Eggers as Ratched's aide. And Tracy Hackney brings professional acting experience from Los Angeles to the role of patient Harding
Stage newcomers Mike Broadley, Lee Blegen, Giovanni Guttierrez and Fernando Granthon - all former military men from Lee County now studying acting at CCCC - play patients McMurphy, Chief Bromden, Cheswick and Martini respectively.
Other cast members include Chatham County thespians Stephanie Tripp, Blake Howard, Matt Timmons, Jerrell Swepson, Corky Harris and Rae Bland. Behind-the-scenes staff include stage manager Lasater, set designer and technical effects artist John Amero and costume coordinator Sachi Dennison.
Shows begin at 8p.m. Nov. 24, 25, 30 and Dec. 1-2. $12. Dress warmly; not suitable for children under 14.Chatham Mills, 480 Hillsboro Street (U.S. 15-501) in historic downtown Pittsboro. Tickets ($12) are available at the door, space permitting, and in advance at CCCC on U.S. 64 west in Pittsboro and ChathamArts Gallery, 115 Hillsboro St., Pittsboro, 919.542-0394. www.chathamarts.org.
“Cuckoo’s Nest” stars include Regina Gallagher (Nurse Ratched), MikernBroadley (Randall McMurphy) and Lee Blegen (Chief Bromden).