North Carolina Newspapers

    8 The Compass Friday, December 5, 1997
Eugene O'Neal photo
Members of the cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest gawk ai pictures of nude women provided by Randle McMurphy. Cast members are (from left) Bob Abeary, Khalid
Baum, Jeff Meads, Shaunell McMillian, Alan Alexander, and Joel Parker.
Players ‘score big’ with fall production
of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
by Tiffany Newell
The University Players have done it
again. The season premiere. One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was a smash hit.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a
comedy-drama by Dale Wasserman
adapted from the novel by Ken Keasey.
It is centered around the character of
Randle P. McMurphy, a high-strung
gambling convict who tries to serve a
short sentence in a mental institution
rather than do jail time.
With solid performances from the
veteran actors and newcomers, the pro
duction was destined to score big.
Shaunell McMillian as the charming
rogue, Randle P. McMurphy, gave a
stellar performance, as usual. It was
hard to distinguish whether McMillian
was acting or if he really was as twisted
as the character. His skill was espe
cially evident in Act Two, when
McMurphy and Chief Bromden were
pushed on stage in straight jackets. His
actions, gestures and facial expressions
drew a fine line between sanity and
insanity. McMurphy and Bromden
were laughing and joking while await
ing their fate.
McMillian has won audiences' ado
ration in several University Players pro
ductions, including Of Mice and Men
and A Raisin in the Sun.
Marsha Lynn Williams gave a fine
characterization of head nurse Hatched,
who is engaged in a constant battle
with McMurphy This becomes appar
ent in Act Two when McMurphy and
Ratched go head-to-head after Billy
Bibbit commits suicide.
Although he had very little to say,
Lamar Fraiser more than made up for
it in his exceptional portrayal of the
"deaf and dumb" Chief Bromden. In
the opening of the play. Chief Bromden
is subdued and child-like and Fraiser
does a great job of making the trans
formation from the "deaf and dumb"
child to the strong man he was before
he was institutionalized.
The supporting roles of Jeff Meads
as Dale Harding, Bob Abeary as Charles
Cheswick and Alan B. Alexander as
Frank Scanlon, gave the play season
ing. These characters were the "acutes"
of the mental ward. Their constant bick
ering elicited many laughs from the
Stacy Brock, an ECSU freshman, did
a superb job in her acting debut as the
timid Catholic Nurse Flirm. In Act One,
Scene Two, Brock races to the nurse's
station to avoid McMurph/s sexual
Felicia Best, who played
McMurphy's "lady friend". Candy
Starr, has come a long way since her
acting debut in Dearly Departed, in
which she portrayed a distraught house
wife. Best, who no longer seems as if
she's reciting memorized lines, brings
her character to life in this play.
Joel L. Parker's portrayal of the stut
tering Billy Bibbit touched the
audience's hearts. Some members of
the audience couldn't hold back their
tears when Bibbit commits suicide in
the last scene.
Khalid K. Baum as the hallucinating
Anthony Maritini provided comic re
lief in the play. He makes the audience
laugh with his ridiculous clothing and
his imaginary basketball teammate.
Samuel Norman as Ruckley was a
constant reminder that the play was
set in a mental institution and fore
shadows the fate of McMurphy. In the
first scene Ruckley is sitting on a book
shelf with his arms spread as if he was
Jesus on the cross.
Although the acting was strong, the
performance was marred by some mi
nor flaws with lighting. The audience
may have been distracted by the fail
ure to fade the lights for Chief
Bromden's flashbacks.
Despite the lack of a scene shop, the
staging of the play was impressive and
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was
performed on Nov. 5,6,7, and 9. The
production was directed by Shawn
Smith, a professor in the Department
of Language, Literature & Communi

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