'CUCKOO'S NEST' Husband and wife take leading roles in TNT play
Both actors said they're nothing like the characters they portray.
By L. CROW
NILES -- A husband and wife play the two lead roles in Trumbull New Theatre's production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
Jim and Laurie McGuire, former Warren residents who now live in Hudson, found many compelling reasons to make the hour-long drive to TNT to participate in the play.
Both Jim and Laurie welcomed the opportunity to work with director Terri Gilbert. "She knows what she wants, knows what she's doing, and I enjoy collaborating with her," said Jim, who has been involved with theater for about 30 years. "And I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play the role of McMurphy."
The comedy-drama written by Dale Wasserman is based on the disturbing book by Ken Kesey. It is set in a mental institution, where the residents are ruled by the iron hand of Nurse Ratched. Everyone's world gets turned upside down when a new resident arrives, the fun-loving rebel, McMurphy, who agrees to be committed to escape jail time. Unwilling to be under the control of Ratched, he inspires the other residents to claim empowerment and self-respect.
Summing up the characters
"McMurphy is a good person, the antithesis of Ratched," Jim said. "He is out for the good of the ward -- he goes to their defense and gives them hope. I wanted to play this role because it is so filled with energy. McMurphy is strong and has such a love for life, and he likes to stir things up."
Jim said he is nothing like McMurphy and likes the challenge. "This character is outside the line for me," he said.
Jim and Laurie met doing theater, and they are having fun playing against each other in these opposing roles.
Like her husband, Laurie said she is the complete opposite of the character she plays. "I am more of the loving, high-energy, let's-get-this-party-going type -- more like McMurphy," she said. "But Nurse Ratched is very still, slow, controlled, rigid, precise.
"I did lots of research on this character," she continued. "I wanted to know what would make someone so miserable to feel she has to have so much control over her world. She surrounds herself with weak people, including the resident doctor, and plays off their weaknesses. She has her world exactly the way she wants it, until McMurphy shows up, and everything begins to crumble. She is vicious, evil."
Laurie related an interesting fact that she culled from her research. "[Nurse Ratched] is considered one of the top five most villainous characters, only surpassed by the Wicked Witch of the West, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates."