One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was a play performed at San Jose State University Theatre adapted by Dale Wasserman from the novel by Ken Kesey. It's setting was in a mental hospital with many members that had mental disorders and were actually self-admitted. The ward is ran by Nurse Ratched who directs it like a matriacrhy demanding authority and order by all. R.P. McMurphy arrives at the ward to avoid a prison sentence and rounds up the members of the Patients' Council to follow him. He is the main character who shows the patients how to regain their independence from Nurse Ratched and from their insanity.
Nurse Ratched is an enormous woman who is the superintendent of the ward. She uses many means necessary to control the
patients to maintain order and to cripple them from living a sane life. She dictates their lives from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep. She manipulates the patients out of from under the influence of R.P. McMurphy. Electroshock therapy and lobotomies are a constant threat tot their patients to maintain their order and to control their actions. In the patients' group therapy meetings during the days the patients sit around and talk about their problems and issues. It's in these meetings that Nurse Ratched claims to want to help the patients but ends up attacking them and holding over their heads the problems of each patient. R.P. McMurphy describes it as a chicken pecking party. She emasculates the men by attacking their manhood and controlling their self worth and mental sanity.
Dale Harding was a well educated man who understood much psychology of all the patients. He was the president of the patients' council until McMurphy challenged him as leader. During one session of the group therapy Dale talks about why he is in the ward. He was married to a beautiful woman and he felt that he could not satisfy her as a man. Nurse Ratched exploits him and raises issues that all the other patients join in on to bash him. At one point they even mock him by asking him if he was a homosexual. Nurse Ratched's approach was neither encouraging nor helpful in supporting his manhood and ultimately oppressed and controlled his mental insanity.
Billy Bibbit was a man who was controlled by his mother. She did not approve of his fiance and called her a whore who was unfit to marry her son. Billy begins the play with cut wrists and is constantly threatened by Nurse Ratched who says she has to tell Billy's mother of what he has done. He is mentally crippled by the power that Nurse Ratched has over him through his mother.
Chief Bromden is a tall and strong Native American who fakes that he cannot speak or hear to hide from his pain. Through his schizophrenia he narrates throughout the play about the control the ward has over hi and all the patients He expressed how he felt that he was too "little" and could not overcome his adversities. Once Nurse Ratched learned that he could talk and hear she held it against hi and threatened him for not cooperating in his cure.
McMurphy showed the patients how to gain their independence from Nurse Ratched and from their insanity. He stands up against the authority and rebels against the nurse. He showed Dale how to relate to women when he throws a party one night in the ward. He had two of his lady friends come in and flirt with the patients and found a way to get alcohol. He helped Billy regain his manhood by having one of his girlfriends to have sex with Billy the night of the party. Chief Bromden was challenged by McMurpny to be "bid" instead of being "little" and constantly encouraged him by telling him that he kept looking bigger and bigger as the play progressed. He helpedChief to show him that he could speak and not to hide from his pain. McMurphy even goest to great lengths as to endure electroshock therapy to show that Nurse Ratched could not control their thought lives or way of life. At the end of the play McMurphy, in a fit of rage, murders Nurse Ratched with his own two hands.
The patients at the ward were all self-admitted. McMurphy played a key role in curing these three patients of their mental illness due to the Nurse and by others. Through his rebellion against authority he brought back manhood to Dale and to Billy and he showed Chief what it took to gain his independence in society and from the evil nurse.