A story about hope

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By Kirsten Laskey

Mental institutions do not seem to be popular locations for inspiring hope, especially not the one featured in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Medication, group therapy and alienation from the outside world are emphasized in the fictional institution. There is not much room for anything else so the patients become prisoners in a hopeless situation. That is, until a newcomer is admitted.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a story that has been told in many different forms. It started out as a book by Ken Keasey, and since then has been a play and a movie.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Los Alamos will be able to see the Los Alamos Little Theater’s production of this play.

This is no abstract play. Be prepared to be transported back into the 1960s. Producer Eric Bjorklund described the production as “fairly authentic.”

Relics of the ‘60s are everywhere in the play, from lamps to Life magazines.

As luck would have it, the theater building was decorated in the ‘60s so the company was able to “cannibalize” different things, Bjorklund said. They took lamps, chairs and other items from different areas of the building and put them on the stage.

Ken Milder and Dave Schiferl offered good lighting and sound, Bjorklund said, and the director, Elizabeth Price complimented costumers Doris Leitch and Sarah Preteska on their great designs.

It’s more than just appearances that makes “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” authentic, the script, the actors and the director made a strong production, Bjorklund said.

“The director and the cast are pretty much top-flight,” he said. “It’s artistically one of the best things we’ve done in a while.”

Price said one of things that really helped the production was the good script.

She explained she chose “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for a lot of reasons. “One is the book is an incredible piece of literature and I think the play adapted the power of the book and tells a story you don’t hear everyday.”

In this story, Price said, people have given up hope, but then an outsider enters and helps them rediscover life.

“It’s a story about hope and getting hope back,” she said.

Price added it also helps to have talented people involved in the play. “It’s amazing, for a small town we do have a lot of talented people … (who) have done an outstanding job,” she said.

Everyone is excited about the production, and that enthusiasm is helpful, Price said.

Price said this is one of the riskier plays she has directed at LALT, but because she has been given such great support from LALT, Price said, she feels able to push limits. “Because why not,” she asked.

The artistic creativity does not stop with the play. In the lobby, artist Katy Korkos will display her artwork and inside the auditorium, the cast will hang the artwork they created. Price said the artwork reflects what the characters of the play would have made in the institution.

The play will run at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and March 27,  28, April 3 and 4.

There will be a matinee at 2 p.m. March 29. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students.

Parents are reminded the play contains adults themes so it may not be suitable for young children.