AUC Theatre will conclude its mainstage season with Ken Kesey’s contemporary classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, in a stage adaptation by Dale Wasserman. Set in an Oregon mental hospital, the play examines the effect of institutions on the human mind, and triumphs in the ability of humanism to overcome various obstacles in life. Performances will be held on May 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7 pm, and May 3 and 8 at 5 pm in the Malak Gabr Arts Theater, AUC New Cairo.
“The characters aren’t particularly noble, but they speak on behalf of having control over your own life,” said Mark Mineart, director and associate professor in the Department of the Arts. “We can learn a lot from these characters, especially the importance of looking critically at the institutions around us, whether it is a mental hospital in the case of the play or otherwise.”
The play focuses on the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, who has faked insanity to serve out the remainder of his prison sentence in a mental hospital. Newly admitted, McMurphy immediately enters into conflict with Midred Ratched, the head administrative nurse who rules with an iron fist. The play chronicles their struggle as McMurphy gives the other patients in the institution incentive to stand up for themselves against the ever-controlling Ratched, turning the mental hospital upside down in the process.
Set with the task of playing the lead role of McMurphy, student Adham Haddara has gained an in-depth understanding of his character. “McMurphy does things that ultimately serve his interests, but ends up sacrificing himself for this group of patients and shows them they are not as defenseless or worthless as they are led to believe,” said Haddara. “He has different faces that pop up every now and again. There’s McMurphy the jokester, the psychopath and there is a vulnerable and caring side to him.”
Nour Refaat, the student who will play Nurse Ratched, expressed her admiration for her character’s unique attributes. “Nurse Ratched has her own twisted way of caring about her patients and wants what is best for them,” said Refaat. “She was a former army nurse so her behavior and physicality is like a machine. She keeps a watchful eye over every single nook and cranny in the ward, and restrains her own emotions to keep control over her own expressions.”
Mineart believes the performance is well-timed with the political changes taking place in the country. “The play brings forth some profound resonances with what is going on in Egypt,” he said. “I see the play as a struggle between the individual and the institution, much like the revolution in Egypt. McMurphy is the catalyst that begins an era of change in the lives of men around him.”
Directing his first play at AUC, Mineart is excited to work with a new group of students on the play based on one of his favorite books. “Everyone has been very supportive, hard working and diligent,” he said. “The students are hitting new distinctions faster and faster because of being together as a group, and standing on each other’s shoulders to reach them.”
For ticket reservations, call 012.2172.1526 or ext. 4108.