Equus is an award winning English play written by playwright Peter Shaffer. It played on Broadway for a span of over 1000 performances, and has won Tony awards for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play acquired more recent fame in 2007 by casting Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame, in the role of Alan Strang.
This play, performed in the beautiful rialto Theatre, is the depiction of psychiatrist Martin Dysart’s (Noel Burton) investigation into a patient brought to him by court magistrate Heather Salomon (Nadia Verrucci). The boy, Alan Strang (Bobby Lamont) blinded six horses in a stable where he worked, and the crime was so unfathomable that they would have locked him up for life if not for Martin accepting him as a patient. Martin investigates the motivations behind Alan’s crime, and has multiple exchanges with Alan’s parents, highly religious Dora (Victoria Barkoff), and atheist Frank Strang (Clive Brewer). Together and separately, they give elusive hints into Alan’s motivations, speaking in riddles. As well, the stable’s owner, Harry Dalton (Karl P. Werleman) pays Martin a visit, demanding he be locked away forever and that the episode traumatized his other hired hand, Jill Masson (Alarey Alsip) because she felt responsible.
Eventually, Martin manages to connect with Alan and the truth of his religious worship and sexual ideation of horses becomes apparent. Martin, who already had deep misgivings about his profession, descends into a true crisis of identity as he compares his dowdy existence to that of Alan, who would spend one night every three weeks riding his own personal god, naked and exhilarated through the fields.
This was a very emotionally charged play and much of the action demands the involvement of the audience. It is as though you are part of some great jury and you are the one passing judgement on Alan, and Martin simply exists to reveal these facts. Bobby Lamont is simply amazing at showing Alan’s extremes of emotion, his rage, standoffishness and his being difficult to handle and stubborn in his interactions with the nurse (Heather Huff). Noel Burton was a great choice for Martin Dysart, as he spoke powerfully with authority, but had an introspective aspect that captured the character’s self-doubt very well.
The chorus (Andre Simoneau, Nicholas Santillo, Kristina Sandev, Fred Nguyen, Ellie Moon, Jamie Del Agulia and Julia Dawiskiba) were excellently choreographed by Jacqueline Van de Geer and their movements were equine, graceful and powerful. They were used on the stage to depict events which had happened in the past, as Alan recounts them. Their costumes were elegant and functional, with the headpiece resembling an abstracted horse’s face and mane, designed by Melanie Ann Fallnbigi. The soundtrack was deep and resounding, and served to heighten the emotional depth and impact of the actors’ performances. Director Paul Van Dyck had the additional task of sound design.
Additionally to be credited are Davyn Ryall (Costume & Set, Producer), Richard Smith ( Production assistance, producer), Sarah Stupar (Assistant to the director, stage managing), Kristina Sandev (chorus / Associate producer), Tristan Brand (Videography & editing), Jody Burkholder (light), Kristina Dorion (Promotional graphics), Jeremy Eliosoff (Animated graphics), Lara Kaluza (Projections), and Loes Ruizeveld (Assistant choreographer).
This production was perfectly suited to the rialto Theatre, and it was an amazing experience, and well worth watching.
Photos by Davyn Ryall
-Venue: 5723 Parc Ave.
-Ticket Purchase: (514) 285-4545 or www.lavitrine.com
-Ticket Prices: Adults – $30.00
Students & Seniors – $24.00
-Show Times: Tuesday-Thursday – 7:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 – 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 24 – 8:00 p.m.