One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Director's Notes: 
When I was in high school, I knew a young man who was mentally handicapped. He liked me a lot and would follow me around at school and at church. He would poke me a lot and ask me the same questions over and over. It really bothered me, and eventually my patience broke and, in an effort to get him to bug someone else, I began treating him very cruelly. As an adult who works with a wide range of students, I am so ashamed to look back at that experience, which I count as one of my biggest regrets. Mental illnesses and the way we as a society treat those that suffer from them was the most compelling theme in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest. We see characters who are truly struggling with mental illness, and trying to do something about it. We see Human Beings with hopes and dreams and wonderful senses of humor, loyalty, and honor and an intense desire to be a part of society. Those of us who are guilty of being cruel to, belittling, or losing our patience with people who struggle with mental illnesses will see ourselves reflected in Nurse Ratched and Aides Warren and Williams, deliberately mistreating these people to keep them down and to stroke our own sense of superiority and authority. Medicine has come a long way since this play was written (and still has a long way to go!), but maybe it’s time for society to catch up.