Cuckoo Will Make History at WPI

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. Members of Masque, the WPI theatre group, will present One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21, 22, 23, at 8 p.m. in Alden Memorial on the WPI campus. The production is co-sponsored by the Humanities and Arts Department. Tickets are $3; they are available at the door or by calling ext. 5946.

Members of the audience will become part of WPI theatre history during these performances, when virtual reality will be incorporated into a WPI play for the first time. "As part of the upcoming production and our ongoing theatre technology curriculum, we will model worlds within the computer and project them on stage," says Dean O'Donnell '86, visiting instructor of drama/theatre. "This is a totally new approach so new we know of only one other place that is doing it."

The Dale Wasserman play, based on a novel by Ken Kesey, tells the story of Randall McMurphy, who manages to get himself committed to the state mental hospital because he believes that life would be easier there than on the Work Farm where he is serving time. Once inside, McMurphy mobilizes the patients and stages rebellion after rebellion in his quest to wrest the ward from the iron grip of Nurse Ratched.

The play is carried along by Chief Bromden, the Indian whose daydreams, memories and hallucinations will be performed using virtual reality. "An entire VR world is being created by WPI students for this performance," says Joe Plunkett '97 of Berkley, Mass., publicity director. "One student will navigate through the VR world as it is projected onto the stage in real-time. This virtual actor' will use his talents to make the chief's world more graphic and real to the audience."

The movie version starred Jack Nicholson. The WPI production features Dana Schlosser '96 of Haddam, Conn., as McMurphy; Katherine (Katie) Horning '96 of Worcester as Nurse Ratched; Matt Dowling '97 of Nevada City, Calif., as Chief Bromden; and Kenneth Danila '97 of East Lyme, Conn., as Billy.

Members of Masque act, produce and write several shows performed at WPI during the year and also excel at set work, lighting, sound and other technical areas. The Humanities and Arts Department offers a Theatre and Theatre Technology program that enables students to use resources and equipment not available at liberal arts colleges. The program prepares graduates for careers in lighting, audio, special effects or production management and provides a foundation for graduate work in design, theatre management and other areas of study. For more information visit Masque's Web site at http://www.wpi.edu/~masque or contact Susan Vick, professor of drama/theatre, at 508-831-5682 or svick@wpi.wpi.edu.