This play can be talked about in several ways…a story about mental illness and institutionalization, rebellion and authority, human nature and evil. Far from an authority figure, I appear for one scene, struggling to get into the asylum through a window. Something in your essence, something fundamental to who you are as a person, will be the thing that gets you cast in a particular role. I’ll be playing Sandra, who the playwright describes as “a big, earthy, wench”. I had to look up this usage of the word “earthy”, and found this definition: “of a person or their language - direct and uninhibited, especially about sexual subjects or bodily functions.” If the vintage dress fits, right?
At that table read, we did a round robin. ”Who is your character?” asked Richard. Sandra. She’s impulsive, highly curious, and she’s…to quote a past improv teacher of mine who clocked me as such…”a psycho magnet”– even when she’s not partying at the local asylum. I’ve been told that I exude “openness”. Could my openness land me in a situation similar to that? Um. Yes. But oftentimes you land in those situations and find them to be relatively harmless– or interesting, exciting, even enlightening–where many would simply walk by, too afraid or not curious enough. However, as any psycho magnet will tell you: there’s oftentimes a point when you get the creeps and you need to bail.
Sandra follows her friend Candy into the scene, looks around, and decides to hang out with a room full of men that she knows to have serious psychological problems, may even be “criminally insane”. Maybe she knows that at this moment in history, people are institutionalized unjustly. Sandra herself is probably one felony or one concerned, well-to-do relative away from a lobotomy. Sandra is in her element dancing with the Chief and sipping a codeine cocktail, and is unintimidated even after getting her butt pinched and chased around. Sandra only bails when the party’s been crashed and she senses the temperature shift in the room. Once Nurse Ratched’s presence is imminent, and sees her new friends are terrified, only then does she climb right back out the window.
Caitlin Robb plays Sandra