Moorestown High School Theater Presents Annual Fall Play

The play, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” is based on the novel by Ken Kesey.

Left to right, Garrett Walsh, Ashrit Verma and Mira Mookerjee act out a scene from the Moorestown High School Fall Play, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, at practice on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Each fall, students from the Moorestown High School theater program join together to put on a performance for the entire community to enjoy. This year, the select students will be presenting the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” on Oct. 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium located at 350 Bridgeboro Road.

Based on the novel by Ken Kesey and adapted by the award-winning playwright Dale Wasserman, this performance tells the story of Randle Patrick McMurphy. After being sentenced to a fairly short prison term, McMurphy instead decides to declare himself insane so he may be transferred to a mental institution.

After this decision, McMurphy believes he will be able to serve the rest of his sentence avoiding prison labor and in the comfort of the institution, but soon discovers the facility he has been sent to is run by an unyielding tyrant, Nurse Ratched. While many of his fellow patients have been cowed into dejected institutionalized submission, McMurphy attempts to overcome Ratched by winning over the hearts and minds of his peers.

Directed by Erica Scanlon Harr, with help from husband Greg Harr, who is the performance’s business manager/assistant director, this play casts 31 students as actors and more than 30 members as crew. Also helping the performance to run smoothly, Brian Froonjian and Kirsten Sheetz are executing scenic design and construction, Katie Keith will oversee costumes, hair and makeup, Chris Miller and Dee Dugan will operate lighting, and Joe Masciangelo will control sound design.

Starring in the performance, junior Garrett Walsh will play McMurphy, and junior Mira Mookerjee is cast as Nurse Ratched. Additionally, Rohan Wadhwa will play Dale Harding, and Ashrit Verma will star as the infamous Chief Bromden.

“It’s such an honor to go through MHS and to experience the people in the show,” Walsh said. “I’d say McMurphy is a criminal, I wouldn’t say I’m exactly criminal, but we’re both charismatic jokesters.”

“The people in Moorestown High School theater have made it such a tight-knit family,” Mookerjee said. “I love interacting with the other characters on stage to see how the other characters fit with mine. I’m very different from Nurse Ratched. She needs everything to be in order, but I just need to access that part of me.”

Although this performance draws on many controversial topics, ranging from mental health to electroshock therapy, Erica and Greg Harr, have insisted throughout the production that their students take the time to focus on both education and entertainment — the theater program’s motto. Included in the educational aspect, each student was required to research and present on topics ranging from electro-shock therapy to personality disorders to the actors who have played these roles over the years.

“Students in the theater program come from different backgrounds, all four grades, and have varying levels of experience,” Greg Harr said. “This particular show offers unique challenges due to the serious nature of many of its themes: mental health, individuality and freedom.”

Overall, the community can look forward to another sensational performance by the high school’s cast and crew. After weeks of practice and preparation, the students have fully embodied their characters and look forward to sharing their portrayals each night of production.

“The actors have met the challenge head on, thinking about their characters and discussing the show in mature ways,” Greg Harr said. “The students have not only demonstrated their talent, but more importantly their thoughtfulness, insight and compassion.”

Tickets for the event are $12 and can be purchased online at moorestownhstheater.weebly.com.

For more information and updates, find “Moorestown High School Theater” on Facebook or visit its website. Those with questions can also call the high school at (856) 778–6610 ext. 22368 or email moorestownhstheater@gmail.com.