Gearing up for two great plays
Fall theater in the ATL brings with it options galore. Two plums are Alliance Theatre’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” adapted into a play by Dale Wasserman from Ken Kesey’s book, which was later turned into an Oscar-winning film, and Dominion Entertainment Group’s “Jar the Floor,” Cheryl West’s comedy about an African-American family and a birthday party marked by some surprises, one of which is the great-granddaughter of the main character’s new female lover. We caught up with actresses D. Woods (most recently seen in the film “Blackbird”) and Cara Mantella, who play “Jar’s” lesbian couple Vennie and Raisa, as well as Tess Malis Kincaid, who stars as Nurse Ratched in “Cuckoo’s Nest.” Ratched oversees the pysch ward, including new patient Randle McMurphy.
GA Voice: Tell us about your character, Cara.
Raisa is kind of the outsider of the Alliance Theatre 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 Sept. 2 - 20 www.alliancetheatre.org group. She comes in as a friend of Vennie to her birthday party. The family reacts because she is white and also because she has had one breast removed. She had breast cancer and it is noticeable right away when she comes in.
D., what is it like working with a cast that includes the great Bernardine Mitchell, who
plays the family matriarch?
D. Woods: I had to ask her, “This was a long time ago, but didn’t you do a production of “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” at the Alliance a while back? She did. I was in the ninth grade and went to see that show. I remember her playing Lady in Red and her monologue terrified me. I told her recently how much she scared me. To be working with her now is going to be intense.
Tess, can you talk to us about being part
I can say this. I felt lucky to get the call. When (director) Susan (Booth) reached out I was thrilled.
How does the play compare to the film version?
The audience is in the space with those people. There is no escape from it – they are all in the ward. In the film you get the release from the inmates going on a fishing trip but the play, I think, has immediacy. It’s more visceral.
of the ensemble of “Cuckoo’s Nest?”