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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Auditions (2021)

June 13, 2021 @ 1:00 pm 4:00 pm

I am delighted that Z-Pac have agreed to present One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 2021. I am sure that this outstanding play by Dale Wasserman, based on the bestselling book by Ken Kesey and the film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson needs little introduction but, just in case you need a reminder, you can read a synopsis of the play at the bottom of this letter. This is a fantastic play with a rare mix of superb characterisations, action, comedy, tragedy, desperation and hope.

There are also plenty of parts, large and smaller, for actors of all ages over 18 years. There are 17 parts for 13 men and 4 women and there are details of all of these later in this letter. First the facts:

Auditions will take place on Sunday 13 June, 1-4 pm at Z-Pac Theatre, Zephyr St, Scarness. Call backs (if needed), Monday 14 June at 7.15 pm.

Play read through and induction, Tues 15 at 6.30 pm

Rehearsals initially Tuesday 22 June. Then from 6 July to 19 August every Tues and Thurs 6.30-9.30 pm. From 24th July every Saturday 10 –3pm will be included.

Performance dates: 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 Sept and 1, 2, 3, Oct 2021. There will be full dress and technical rehearsals on Sat 11 Sept and Tuesday 14th Sept.

In order to schedule rehearsals effectively and so that, hopefully, I can avoid wasting anybody’s time during the rehearsal period, you will be asked to fill in a form regarding your availability for rehearsals at the time of your audition. It will be expected that most main parts will need to be available for most of the rehearsals and, this being the case, I would ask you to consider- and be honest about! – your availability before auditioning for a part.

Sides will be available at the theatre and we will have audition readings from the play.

Judith La Forest Director
mob: 0413635965

Plot Summary

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is the story of a power struggle between Randall Patrick McMurphy – a new admission to a psychiatric hospital – and Nurse Ratched, the longtime nurse. Ratched has had control over both the men on the ward and her colleagues, including the attending psychiatrist, Dr Spivey, for years. She understands full well the weaknesses of each person she comes in contact with and exploits that knowledge to bend them to her will. Quickly recognising these manipulations, McMurphy takes on the role of agitator/protector and breathes new life into the men on the ward. Spattered with laughter, this drama has a lot to say about power, friendship and growth.

This play includes strong language and mature content. Rated R. 

Character Breakdown

CHIEF BROMDEN. Male 30’s>. Physically tall and fit: half Native American, half white. The Chief must be able to communicate through both verbal and non-verbal means. His character pretends to be deaf-mute throughout, but he shares his delusions and destroyed confidence in his powerful monologues. He sees modern society as a huge, oppressive conglomeration that he calls the Combine, and the hospital as a place meant to fix people who do not conform.

NURSE RATCHED. Female 30’s>. Ratched is an authoritarian- a scheming and manipulative nurse who asserts control because she can. She is mechanical, calculated and evil under her sweet veneer. She feeds off the pain of patients, never gets flustered – a master class in subltlety. She epitomises the abuse of power and is never redeemed. She weakens her patients through a manipulative program designed to destroy their self-esteem. Will have a choreographed fight scene.

NURSE FLINN. Female, 20’s. A young, subservient, vapid girl with apprehensive eyes and perpetually frightened nurse. She wears a gold cross at her throat, a sign of her strict Catholic upbringing. She is fearful of the patients’ sexuality.

DALE HARADING. Male 30’s > 50’s. College educated with a sharp tongue. He is President of the Patients’ Council. An effeminate man who is married, but is ostensibly homosexual. He has difficulty dealing with the overwhelming social prejudice against homosexuals, so he hides in the hospital voluntarily. His wife and Nurse Ratched emotionally castrate him.

BILLY BIBBITT. Male 20’s > 30’s. Shy and has a bad stutter. He seems younger than his age. A repressed virgin, Bibbitt has a bit of an Oedipal complex and is dominated by his mother, a close friend of Nurse Ratched. He feels ineffective enough that he has attempted suicide.

CHARLES ATKINS CHESWICK III. Male 50’s or older. Emotionally, extremely nervous and upset all the time. Aggressively defiant yet cringing. All talk, no action.

FRANK SCANLON. Male 50’s or older. Dryly sarcastic; less afraid of Nurse Ratched than the other patients. He is obsessed with bombs and blowing things up. Involuntarily, like McMurphy, committed to the hospital.

ANTHONY MARTINI. Male. Will consider all ages. A little Italian man. Delusional but happy, he is often laughing at himself and his situation. He has a lot of energy, and occasional hallucinations.

RUCKLY. Male. Will consider all ages. A Chronic patient. He was once curable, but was transformed into a Chronic due to a botched lobotomy. He only occasionally participates in the conversations with angry expletive outbursts. Actor must be able to remain quiet, still, but “present” while on stage.

RANDAL PATRICK MCMURPHY. Male. Plays 35. A gambler, a con man and a backroom boxer, with a bit of a carnival barker persona. He has a devilish grin and has a wide-open extroverted air, which is in harsh contrast to the environment of the ward. He serves as the dominant force challenging the establishment and the ultimate Saviour of the victimised patients. He transforms the ward by teaching the others to question authority. He is wild, primitive and anti-authoritarian, but cares about his ward mates. Will have kissing scenes and a choreographed fight scene. Wears a towel in another scene.

DR. SPIVEY / TECHNICIAN. Male 40’s >. A spineless psychiatrist who is also controlled by Nurse Ratched. The administrator of the mental institution. He is a calm, mature, grey haired? Doctor. He doubts that anything is wrong with McMurphy’s mind, but he inevitably defers to the opinion of Nurse Ratched.

CANDY. Female 30’s. She is a prostitute with a heart of gold. She relieves Billy Bibbit of his virginity and is a longtime friend of McMurphy. She comes to the ward for a late-night party that McMurphy arranges. Will have kissing scenes.

SANDY. Female 30’s +. Sandy is an older, more jaded prostitute.

AIDE WILLIAMS. Male 25+. A hospital aide who controls patients through demeaning them and treating them poorly.

AIDE WASHINGTON. Male 25+. A hospital aide who controls patients through demeaning them and treating them poorly.

AIDE TURKEL. Male over 50. Easy going and kind. He is the Night Watchman who drinks too much. He is convinced to look the other way for a bit of alcohol when the inmates want to have a party.

Organizer: Judith La Forest


Venue: Z-PAC Theatre

15 Zephyr St
Scarness, QLD 4655 Australia
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0418 712 636
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