Set in the ward of a huge state mental hospital in Oregon in the 1960s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the story of Randle Patrick McMurphy – famously played by Jack Nicholson in the 1975 film of the same name – but moreso is a harrowing, painful and eventually freeing look at the institutionalised mental health system of 20th century America.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set around a charming rogue who contrives to serve a short sentence in an airy mental institution rather than in a prison.
This, he learns, was a mistake. He clashes with the head nurse, a fierce disciplinarian. Quickly, he takes over the yard and accomplishes what the medical profession has been unable to do for twelve years; making a presumed deaf and non-speaking Native American talk.
He leads others out of introversion, stages a revolt so they can see the world series on television, and arranges a rollicking midnight party with liquor.
From there, the story takes a decidedly dark turn, with its inevitable end showing the lengths some will go to for freedom, and the cruelty others will employ to prevent it.
The Murray Music and Drama Club are ably taking on the production, with run dates on August 4, 5, 11 and 12 from 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on August 12, at the Pinjarra Civic Centre. BYO alcohol.
Tickets are available now through mndc.com.au.