We are already halfway into the run of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. How time flies. I feels like yesterday that I just arrived in Atlanta to begin this crazy adventure with an entire group of strangers. Many of whom have now since become good friends.
I try to stay clear away from theatre critics and their opinions until the end of a production run. They can sometimes be devastating, especially when critics are quick and harsh with their opinions or totally miss the message of the show. But I felt obliged to share with you some interesting and positive ones that have just recently appeared online praising the production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST as "shockingly good", "moving" and "powerful". Check them out below by clicking on the blue button links. Enjoy!
Pictured Above: Jeremy Proulx as Chief Bromden in the Alliance Theatre production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
Opening Night is tomorrow and I'm getting nervous. Audiences for our preview performances have been pretty generous for the past week. Some audiences have been more responsive than others but that's to be expected with live theatre. To wet your palette and give you a further insiders feel of the show I've attached a few of the original musical compositions that were created and composed especially for the production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST by the talented Haddon Kime in collaboration with Clay Benning. Simply click on the orange play buttons to listen to the tracks. Enjoy!
I've neglected this blog a little bit on account of being so busy with technical rehearsals. The days have been long and tiring but we're getting there in terms of being show ready for Opening Night a week from today. We head into preview performances tonight for the very first time and I'm confident that I'm in a strong place with the character of Chief Bromden and his emotional journey/arc in the play. The ensemble of actors have been an absolute joy to work with for the past 4 weeks and we're in very capable hands with a wonderful director. Check out the video below to watch a time lapse of the set load in for the stage production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST designed by Tony Award-winner Todd Rosenthal who designed such Broadway sets as AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, THE MOTHERF*#ER WITH THE HAT, OF MICE AND MEN and WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? If you watch closely you might catch a lightning glimpse of me onstage rehearsing the lift and rip out of the floor of a heavy electrical transformer, which is a powerful and pivotal moment near the end of the play. Enjoy!
Already in the midst of week two of rehearsals for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. A lot of stopping and going as we stumble and explore our way through staging and blocking. It can be a tedious process but necessary in order for performers to figure out where they move, carry and hold themselves within the space of each scene in the play. It's also vital to figure how we enter and exit the stage for each scene so that once we start running the entire play that the story progression feels smooth and organic in terms of the flow and pacing. Nobody likes to sit through an awkward and clunky stage production. It can be agony for both the performers and audience.
Some of the rough blocking that we have been working through with Act 1 all this past week will more than likely change once we hit the actual constructed set onstage in few weeks. This always seems to be the case once actors are working inside the actual constructed set. So adjustments are a natural progression of rehearsals. But for now we are all doing our best to be patient as we continue to work through the staging and blocking of scenes. We just started working through Act 2 today for the very first time on our feet so it still feels relatively new for everyone.
Truth be told I am getting nervous about working through the final scene of the play in rehearsals. For me it's going to be so emotionally demanding but also devastating for the audience to witness. Having to bare my soul onstage in such a vulnerable way can be challenging, especially if there is no trust or support from your director or fellow actors. I am praying that the utmost respect will be given in the rehearsal room as I chart out my emotional journey through the play and am asked to go to some pretty emotionally raw places. More exploration to come in the coming weeks as I delve further into the story and character of Chief Bromden in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
You can follow Alliance Theatre's many updates about this production through their main website by clicking here and also their Facebook page by clicking here. There you'll find a few photos from the first day of rehearsals. Enjoy!
Miigwetch/Thank you for continuing to follow my journey.
Pictured Above: The front exterior of the Woodruff Arts Center.
Pictured Above: The original character sketches for the costume of Chief Bromden in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
Pictured Above: Jeremy takes a pic in the change room during a second costume fitting in the wardrobe department at the Alliance Theatre.
Day 3 of the rehearsal process has been productive. We are still getting through table work and dissecting the script as best we can before we actually get on our feet and start exploring in the rehearsal space. I have to admit that it's been a challenge in rehearsals with being so still onstage. In the play Chief Bromden is described as a character that comes in and out of a series of schizophrenic hallucinations. It's a clinical viewpoint that I don't always agree with. From a First Nations perspective I call these "hallucinations" more of dreamlike states where he communicates with the spirit of his deceased father. Through his dreams he is being given signs of how his spirit is beginning to reawaken and break free from the binds of colonization that have kept him "small" and inside a box for over a decade. He also someone who has been displaced and therefore is struggling to reconnect with his sense of place and connection within creation. Even though he appears catatonic to those around him who believe him to be simply "deaf and dumb" and unable to speak he is actually a very multi-dimensional character full of depth and quiet power. He is a character who is constantly listening and therefore knows everyone's secrets. The challenge as an actor is bringing a level of presence and history onstage for a character who has become so institutionalized within a state mental hospital that he has become indoctrinated by a colonial gaze and Euro-centric power that has seeked to assimilate and destroy the very cultural fabric of who he is an Indigenous person. It's a lot to chew on for an actor. I am confident that I will be able to delve further into truth and spirit of Chief Bromden as the rehearsals progress, It's just a matter of trusting the process and knowing that have an extraordinary director and team of artists to support me.
Pictured Above: A side exterior view of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta
Pictured Above: The entire cast, crew and creative team begin to gather inside the Alliance Theatre rehearsal hall for the very first read-through of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
Pictured Above: The mock set design for the production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST at the Alliance Theatre
With every new production I begin there is always some aspect of nervousness and excitement. With this particular production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta I feel very blessed to be part of such a terrific group of creative minds who are so open, generous and willing to play. For the past few days I have been getting to know this entirely new group of people who already have a strong working relationship with each other. I am sort of the new fish in the pond having travelled all the way from Canada to join to this amazing ensemble of actors. For the past few days the entire production team has been sharing all of their extraordinary gifts to help bring this classic story to life onstage. Everyone from wardrobe, to production and sound design, to fight choreography and direction have been sharing their vision and expertise in their chosen fields. I am so excited to be part of this journey in bringing the role of Chief Bromden to life for American audiences to experience. I am positive this journey is going to be an amazing learning experience and one that I will remember for a very long time. I am looking forward to the powerful and cathartic experience of performing in this production and hope you follow along this journey with me. Miigwetch!
Pictured Above: The foyer of the Woodruff Arts Center that houses the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre and Grammy Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Pictured Above: An exterior shot from behind the Woodruff Arts Center which houses the Alliance Theatre
Pictured Above: A Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre that was awarded to the Alliance Theatre in 2007