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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

  • 1.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-19-2018 09:30
    I'm wondering if anyone has considered One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Distasteful language can be altered per the playwright (it says this in the script sample I found).

    If anyone has directed this, please let me know.  Happy to read any and all comments.

    Thank you.

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    K Lang
    Ticonderoga NY
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  • 2.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-20-2018 12:14
    I directed it at our all-boys' Catholic school in 2005.  Used my set of character masks as the spirit of dead crazies, who loomed the halls and only the other crazies (and, of course the audience) could see.  We have SMATs and I put a note in the invite that mentioned the language, and that I toned it down.  Obviously the trickiest is Ruckley because his only lines are "ffffffffuckitall".  I worked it out so that you couldn't really understand what he was saying.  It was all fine until a dad wrote a rather unintelligible letter to our principal.  Thing is, he said he recently took his kids to see the film, but that our production was more offensive.  I just didn't get that because the film drops F-bombs all over the place.  Ah well.  It was a very special show for me because my father was sick, and during a rehearsal one night my sister called to say he died.  The cast was so amazing, they gathered a candle and put us in a circle and they all said a prayer for me and my father.  This show holds very special memories for me.  Oh, and I still haven't returned all the hospital gowns that I borrowed from the hospital.  I'm sure I will...one day.  Good luck and here's some of my favorite pics from our production.

    NB:  Billy Choy played Chief Bromden and, sadly, passed away in 2015.  My classes got to chew gum and that's how we created the 'gum chair'.

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    Valerie O'Riordan
    Drama Director, MFA, AEA, Russi House Provincial
    Archbishop Riordan High School
    Troup 5596, I.T.S.
    San Francisco CA voriordan@riordanhs.org
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  • 3.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-20-2018 14:12

    I directed this in my first school, in 1977.  Things were a LOT different then.  The kids, parents, and administration loved the production, but this was not long after the movie came out in 1975.  


    I would see problems with a high school production today with the whole issue of the Chief's decision to end McMurphy's vegetative state at the end of the play.  Choosing this play would really depend on the school's demographic.


    Bob Fowler

    Interactive Educational Video, LLC






  • 4.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-22-2018 07:46
    Thanks to both of you.  This play is going to be a contender along with Love/Sick.  Still looking for one more option.  If this is the pick I will be back in touch for sure.

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    K Lang
    Ticonderoga NY
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  • 5.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-22-2018 22:16
    So it looks like McMurphy has almost 300 lines. Did either of you find this problematic?  That would be by far the biggest role in the history of our program.

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    K Lang
    Ticonderoga NY
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  • 6.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-23-2018 03:51
    I’ve had many Middle Schoolers with roles that big including Jesus is Godspell, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, Narrator/Mayor in Drood & Dorothy in Oz. All were no problem.

    Maria Stadtmueller
    St. Augustine School
    Kendall Park, NJ

    Sent from my iPhone
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  • 7.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-23-2018 20:22
    Thanks, Maria.

    Did any of you think the length of the play was an issue.  We usually run under two hours but this looks a bit longer.

    After our meeting tonight, this just might be the play.  The kids seem excited about it.

    I appreciate the dialogue here.

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    K Lang
    Ticonderoga NY
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  • 8.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 10-28-2018 13:37
    I directed Cuckoo last spring and am taking a 40-minute cutting to Regional Competition in November.  For our rural school community we tamed the language.  You are allowed to do that.  We said, "Screw them all!" and it was just as effective.  We will keep that change for Regionals, but will slip in some of the original bad words.

    I have a script I typed for our version.  We had a large cast.  We had some extra tarts.  Request script:  cgebert@jayschools,k12.in.us.

    We built a one-room set for the staged show, but will have a flexible set for Regionals.

    I had a masculine female play McMurphey.  She was amazing and very believable.  She had just played Annie Sullivan and Mrs. Potts!!!  We have a male playing the role for competition.  Neither of them struggled with the lines as much as Kaleb had to learn the cuts.  He was understudy for the role last spring knowing he would have competition.

    The show was powerful.  The student population that attended was really taken back by the intensity.  It's worth your time, but we had to do a lot of character work.  We took a day from school to visit the Richmond State Mental Hospital where we were able to meet with doctors and work with patients.  We also were able to go through their museum and see the equipment from the time period of the play.  Kids were able to touch and feel and even put on the straight jacket.  We also saw a community production at Noblesville, IN, so kids could see adults' choices.

    The new students to the cast for competition don't have the depth of the veterans, which worries me a little.  The movie is so different than the script.  I think when you see what I did, you will see how I was able to tame a bit, but keep the vitality of the characters.

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    Carol Knarr Gebert
    Jay County High School
    Portland, Indiana
    cgebert@jayschools.k12.in.us
    419-910-1287
    Thespian Troupe #574
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  • 9.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 01-18-2019 14:50
    So Cuckoo's Nest it is.

    Casting was finished before holiday break and we are rehearsing now.  We open April 5th.

    Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful info here!

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    K Lang
    Ticonderoga NY
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  • 10.  RE: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for HS

    Posted 18 days ago
    We closed yesterday.  Cuckoo's Nest was the most successful and well received play in the history of our club.  Thanks all for the advice!

    Now the search begins for next year...

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    K Lang
    Ticonderoga NY
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