Boston Children's Theatre artistic director Burgess Clark will helm the BCT production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Boston Children's Theatre artistic director Burgess Clark will helm the BCT production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
(photo provided by Boston Children's Theatre)

Boston Children's Theatre will present the stage adaptation of Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, helmed by artistic director Burgess Clark. Performances will run from April 15-29 at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Adapted by Dale Wasserman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest premiered on Broadway in 1963 and ran through January of 1964. The film of the same name starred Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher and won five Academy Awards in 1976, including Best Picture.

In the play, Randle McMurphy is happy to be committed to a mental facility to avoid prison time, assuming it will be a less restrictive environment. He rallies the patients with his rebelliousness, but runs up against Nurse Ratched who controls the patients through abuse, medication, and electrotherapy. The production continues a BCT tradition of presenting thought-provoking content to its young audiences, which in the past has included Reflections of a Rock Lobster, Of Mice and Men, and last year's Elliot Norton Award-winning The Diary of Anne Frank.

"Cuckoo's Nest is not normal children's fare," said Clark. For a BCT production, the cast also skews older, ranging in age from 14 to 25 years old, and features pre-professional student actors from the organization's New England TheatreWorks program. "Even though it takes place in the 1960s, it's really relevant today," Clark added. "It's a lot about bullying and people trying to oppress others, people swimming upstream and going against Big Brother, which the hospital represents...We are hoping it broadens the horizons of what children's theater is."

Due to strong language and adult themes, no one age 14 or younger will be admitted without permission of a parent or guardian.

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