While writing this I realize that rehearsals for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest started at the beginning of May, which also happens to be Mental Health Awareness month. As someone who has long believed that mental health is just as important as physical health, being cast in this play has been a dream come true. Ever since I first heard last year that The Parker Players might be staging this play, I have been lobbying Richard (the director) to be cast in this show.
As an actor, I have always dreamed of getting onstage to push the boundaries within a character that is allowed a lot of room to do anything, and being a part of the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest provides that opportunity. People think that the only strange or weird people in the play are the inmates of the asylum, but they are mistaken. Every character in the play has some neurosis or personality disorder, it's just that some of them hide it better or manifest it differently than the asylum inmates.
The opportunity to step into the skin of someone who is unhinged or out of touch with reality has always been an opportunity I have longed for. The chance to play the villain or someone who isn’t quite right has always been a role that I wanted to explore. And then the chance to get this kind of role with Parker Players, directed by Richard Dominick, and with the good friends I made while doing other productions is just the extra gravy.
My wife asked me once if I would take the role of someone who committed violence. My response was absolutely because it would be such a challenge to be someone completely different than who I really am.
This role will be a challenge, frankly, the whole play is a challenge to stage. Creating the maniacal atmosphere of an asylum, creating light amongst that darkness, and keeping up a good pace are crucial to this show being successful. But the people in the cast, the production team, and the support of the Parker Players Board are exactly the team to rise to this challenge.
Plus, I get to be as crazy as I want to be in this production (within reason). I don’t have many lines but that isn’t why I want to be in this play, or any play for that matter. To me, it’s always been about bringing the physical elements of a character to life. And for this character, I get to do pretty much anything I
want and I can’t wait for everyone to see.
Joe Bateman plays Ruckly