Spotlight On: Kimberly Olsen, student director

When she arrived at Geneseo, junior Kim Olsen came in wanting to perform on stage.

“I was involved in theater all throughout high school,” Olsen said.

As a freshman, Olsen said she “took a chance” and auditioned for Geneseo Musical Theatre Club.

“I made it, which I was super excited about my first semester freshman year,” she said.

Olsen said that her experience in MTC prompted an interest in the backstage of theater. “MTC is a great way for students to first have that directorial experience,” she said. “I directed a few numbers my second semester freshman year and I really enjoyed it.”

This helped her to grow as a performer, she said.

“I realized that I was better suited off stage in a directorial position,” she said.

Through what she called a “series of coincidences” Olsen ended up taking a class in directing her sophomore year and “excelled, for one reason or another.”

She currently serves as the secretary of MTC, and last semester she had her first directing experience with the GENseng production of “Eye of the Coconut.”

Olsen said she is now ready to tackle a show that she has been wanting to do for a year: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

The play is based off the novel of the same name by Ken Kesey and was adapted for the stage in 1963 by Dale Wasserstein, closely following the plot of the novel. It is centered on a group of male mental patients in an asylum whose lives change with the arrival of the new inmate, Randle Patrick McMurphy. The men are under the control of the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and the heated tension between McMurphy and Ratched culminates explosively.

As a childhood and special education major, Olsen said that she “wanted to bring that element of disability and channel it through a piece I wanted to direct … I thought this would be a nice sort of meld of both my interests, theater and helping those with special needs.”

For her take on the show, Olsen said she wants to show that “these men are humans, [but] often they’re just recognized for their disabilities.”

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” also has a few technical and thematic challenges, including having to break a window on stage and depicting electroshock therapy and death.

“Overall it’s a risky show in terms of the technical demands and also the subject material,” Olsen said. “There is a very powerful ending to this story … so in that respect it is a bit jarring.”

Olsen said she looks forward to directing the play.

“This whole piece for me is going to be a challenge,” Olsen said. “It’s out of my comfort zone but that’s why I chose it because I wanted to challenge myself with it and do something that I think people will really enjoy.”

The Veg S.O.U.P. production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” will run from Feb. 14 until Feb. 16.