Auditions for One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Auditions will be held June 4, 5, 6, 2012, 6 -9 pm at Captain Isaac Paine School, Foster RI

Performances are scheduled for October 2012.

To avoid schedule conflicts and a burned-out cast, actors will not be allowed to participate in both Cuckoo’s Nest and Wonderful Life. You are welcome to audition for both plays, but you can accept a role for only one of the two. The directing teams will work together to ensure a smooth audition process.

For information, contact Jake Wolf-Jensen at

Roles available

Ages given are the characters’, not the actors’. When a minimum age is given, “25+” for example, that means that the character can be anywhere from 25 to infinity, depending on the choice of the actor.

We are also looking for a producer, set designer, costume designer, stage manager, backstage and tech crews.


Career petty criminal, comes to the mental ward to avoid serving time in a work camp after being convicted of an unspecified crime. Clashes instantly with Nurse Ratched and incites insurrection amongst the other patients. McMurphy has definite issues with authority, and completely disregards any rules that have been put in place by either the staff of the hospital or the patients themselves. He is also extremely charismatic, and a skilled manipulator, able to become the de facto leader of the patients after only a few minutes. Ostensibly the hero of the play, but is fairly morally ambiguous, and it can be argued that he is only using the other patients for his own ends. However, he is also very protective of them, especially Billy and Chief Bromden. At the end of the play, he is lobotomized by Ratched, but lives on in the patients’ minds as a symbol of freedom and rebellion.

Head nurse of the facility, and rules with an iron fist. Cold and domineering, Nurse Ratched uses fear and humiliation to keep the patients under control, as well as the rest of the staff. She even has a certain degree of control over the doctor in charge of the hospital, Dr. Spivey. Presents herself as a stern but fair motherly figure, but has a cruel streak that comes out after she is challenged by McMurphy. Ratched is also a master manipulator, even more than McMurphy, though she lacks his easy charisma. It is unclear whether or not she actually wants to cure the patients at the hospital, or is simply enjoying the power that comes with her position. Eventually, she is physically attacked by McMurphy, who crushes her vocal cords. This breaks her power over the patients, even after she has McMurphy lobotomized.


Chief Bromden is an enormous Native American man who suffers from schizophrenia. He serves as somewhat of a narrator to the play, speaking to the audience in between certain scenes, mainly to show the passage of time. Though physically imposing, his spirit was broken after witnessing his father being cowed and forced into selling his land by the white establishment, who Bromden now refers to as the “Combine.” Bromden is so afraid of the “Combine” that he fakes deafness so as to avoid attention. McMurphy senses this almost immediately, and takes special interest in Bromden, causing him to come out of his shell and stand up to the staff of the hospital. Bromden ends up escaping from the facility, inspired by McMurphy. A difficult role to play, since he spends most of the play silent, and will have to display emotion and reaction without words. Large physical stature a plus.

BILLY BIBBIT – 16- 35, Male
One of the youngest patients at the facility, has a severe stutter and a dysfunctional relationship with his mother. Billy’s mother has an unhealthy degree of influence over his life, which caused his emotional growth to be somewhat stunted. He is very timid and shy, and completely controlled by Nurse Ratched, who uses threats of telling Billy’s mother what he’s done to keep him under control. Billy is the first patient to really befriend McMurphy, who comes to view him almost as a younger brother. McMurphy helps Billy to stand up to Nurse Ratched, after which Ratched verbally humiliates Billy to the point where he commits suicide.

DALE HARDING – 30+, Male
The self-proclaimed leader of the patients before McMurphy’s arrival, Harding an intelligent man, though also a blowhard. The ailment behind Harding’s incarceration is unknown, though it is suggested by the other patients that it is because of repressed homosexuality. He is also frequently emasculated by his wife. Despite appearing at first to be just a blowhard, Harding turns out to be much smarter and more observant than he seems. He also shows genuine care for the other patients. It is Harding who helps Chief Bromden escape at the end of the play.

SUPPORTING CAST (In no particular order)

SCANLON – 20+, Male
Scanlon is a patient obsessed with explosions and destruction. He is the only patient, other than McMurphy and Bromden, who is at the hospital against his will. Scanlon begins the play fairly self-interested, though he does contribute viciously to the group therapy sessions. He ends up standing with McMurphy and the others against Nurse Ratched.

Cheswick is a loud mouthed patient, who constantly demands changes to ward policy. However, he lacks the courage to back himself up, always ends up folding to Nurse Ratched, and is not generally taken seriously by the other patients. After McMurphy arrives at the hospital, he gives Cheswick the strength to stand up for himself.

MARTINI – 20+, Male
Martini is a short, easily excitable Italian-American who suffers from hallucinations. He is one of the few patients to be genuinely happy much of the time at the facility, as he is often divorced from reality. Everything he does is enthusiastic, whether that’s taking part in the group therapy, or dealing cards for the other patients.

RUCKLY – 25+, Male
A chronic patient who has been through a lobotomy, which leaves him in a generally unresponsive state. He spends most of his time either staring at pictures of his wife, or screaming profanities. According to the patients, he was a hell raiser before his lobotomy, similar to McMurphy. He is kept on the ward by Nurse Ratched as a warning.

CANDY STARR – 20-35, Female
Candy is a prostitute and a friend of McMurphy’s. She comes to visit him at the hospital, and gives him the idea to throw the party at the climax of the play, which she attends. Billy Bibbit becomes enamored with her, and loses his virginity to her at the party, at the insistence of McMurphy. Candy is extremely flighty and fun loving, and is not as nervous around the patients as her friend Sandra.

SANDRA – 20-35, Female
A prostitute and mutual friend of Candy and McMurphy. She has gotten married while McMurphy was in the hospital, but she leaves her husband to attend the party with Candy. She is somewhat more reserved than Candy, because of her anxiety around the patients.

DR. SPIVEY – 30+, Male
The head doctor at the facility. Dr. Spivey is a mediocre doctor who is partially under the control of Nurse Ratched. He falls easily for McMurphy’s charms, and is manipulated into allowing a vote on television privileges, and is almost convinced to allow the patients to hold a carnival. Despite his weakness, he does have genuine concern for the well-being of the patients.

The daytime aides on the ward; they also serve as the security team. Both Warren and Williams have a decidedly violent and sadistic nature, and enjoy taunting and hassling the patients. This draws the ire of McMurphy, and eventually he takes a swing at Warren.

NURSE FLINN – 20+, Male
The young nurse who helps Nurse Ratched on the ward. Flinn is a devout Catholic, and has trouble controlling the patients. She is easily wound up by McMurphy, Warren and Williams, and the other patients.

AIDE TURKLE – 30+, Male
The night aide at the ward. Turkle is much kinder than Warren and Williams, and is more likely to allow the patients freer reign. He is an avid alcohol drinker. Turkle allows McMurphy to throw the party, and even helps him sneak in the prostitutes, in return for a bottle of Scotch.