‘Cuckoo’ performance on the way

Keith Hartman, Contributing Writer

The Pitt-Johnstown Theater Department is to take the stage Friday and Saturday, and March 1 and 2 with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

The play is to be performed on the secondary stage of the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.

This is to be theater professor Kathryn Caster’s directorial debut with Pitt-Johnstown. She directed previously during her graduate studies at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

“I wanted the actors to create good strong characters. Every part is big, you can look anywhere on stage and something is happening. This is a good show for that,” said Caster.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a story about a man serving a jail sentence for statutory rape who is transferred to a mental hospital for evaluation even though he shows no signs of instability.

Caster chose the cast to be a divide between male and female, in-patient versus faculty.

“I cast all females for the (staff) and males for the patients. I did this because, in the book, each patient has a woman that caused their issues,” said Caster.

That is not the only subtle change Caster has added.

“The nurses’ station is built to look like the inside of a computer. I want the audience to evaluate their connectedness (to modern technology),” said Caster.

Pitt-Johnstown freshman Emily Baker, who was stage manager for “Durang Durang,” is to return for this production.

“The theater is my major and I love it,” said Baker, who said she also prefers backstage to the spotlight.

“I think this show will be more difficult than ‘Durang Durang’ because it’s in a hospital and you need to have that feel about it,” said Baker.

“I like them both differently but the one show flows better and is easier to follow,” said Baker.

Pitt-Johnstown junior Ashley Zastawniak is to play the antagonist role of Head Nurse Mildred Ratched. Zastawniak has played in past Pitt-Johnstown theater productions such as: “The Wedding Singer,” “Durang Durang” and “Golgonooza.”

“I tried out for nurse Ratched because it’s different and it’s challenging,” said Zastawniak.

“Nurse Ratched is out of my comfort zone. I get to be this sweet innocent person, but, at the same time, I’m really mean.

“It’s fun to play the evil character for once, I’m always the nice one.”