The Winged Ox Players will present their fall production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, on Friday and Saturday September 22 and 23 and September 29 and 30th at 7:30pm at the Willow Bay Theatre, 21 East Third Street, Jamestown.
The Winged Ox Players is a ministry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown. The local theater group presents plays that deal with contemporary issues and deliver thought provoking messages. Their last production of “Least Resistance” an original play based on true-life stories of local individuals affected by the Opioid Crisis, brought rave reviews, and was invited to be presented in Chautauqua and Buffalo, NY.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a ground-breaking play by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey. The play is set in a mental institution in the 1960’s. It offers a harsh and yet compelling view of both the individuals suffering from mental health conditions and the mental health professionals who are entrusted with their care and treatment.
Steven Michael Cobb, Winged Ox Players’ Artistic Director and Director of the production says that the group has chosen to bring the issue of the public perception of mental illness to light by staging this production. Admission to the show is free of charge, but proceeds from donations collected at each performance will be donated to local mental health organizations.
“While conditions in mental institutions and our society’s understanding of mental health have improved significantly, most people who suffer from mental health concerns never seek treatment for a variety of reasons including social stigma, cultural norms, and lack of access.” says Cobb. “This play offers us the opportunity to work in our community to reduce the stigma of mental health conditions and to encourage open and honest conversations about mental health.”
As an effort to be a part of the solution to this sometimes-overwhelming issue, the Winged Ox Players will be participating in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk for Suicide Prevention on Saturday, September 23rd in Jamestown. St. Luke’s will also be offering an 8-hour course on Mental Health First Aide on Oct 15th and 16th. This training will teach participants to identify risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.