Friday, September 23, 2011

A Review of 'Equus' by Peter Schaffer

"In Equus-- a play that took critics and public alike by storm-- Peter Schaffer uses, paradoxically, a deranged youth, who blinds six horses with a spike, and a psychiatrist to show us how materialism and convenience have killed our capacity for worship and passion and, consequently, our capacity for pain.  

Rarely has a playwright created an atmosphere and situation that so harshly pinpoint the spiritual and mental decay of modern man."

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I went to reserve this play at the library.  I had searched for the play on YouTube and I had read summaries of the play, but I wasn't quite prepared for the depth that would come with this play.

I liked the idea of a relatively small case (which means that there weren't very many characters to keep track of). The cast was small, but their parts left very little to be desired.

I was aware of instances of nudity, and with a book, there really isn't anything to worry about, but when the play is actually being performed, the nudity feels like it serves a symbolic purpose, and I can really appreciate that.  It's rather annoying when nudity, violence, or sex is thrown into a story or a movie purely for shock value.

The dialogue was extraordinary; it was extremely powerful.  For instance:
Dysart: And you will fail!  Forever and ever you will fail!  You will see ME-- and you will FAIL!  
The Lord thy God is a jealous God.  He sees you.  He sees you forever and ever, Alan.  He sees you!... He sees you!
Alan: Eyes!... White eyes-- never closed!  Eyes like flames-- coming-- coming!... God seest! God seest! ...NO!
No more.  No more, Equus.
Equus... Noble Equus... Faithful and True... God-slave... Thou- God- Seest- NOTHING!
(Page 105) 

It's one of my most favorite intense parts of anything ever.  You'll have to read it yourself to get the context and the full stage-direction.

One more thing that I enjoyed about this play were the psychology terms.  They used Placebo and put into effect the Placebo effect.  It occurred between Doctor Dysart and Alan (and at Alan's request!  He asked for a truth drug, and Dr. Dysart delivered as best as he could).  It was just absolutely fascinating.  

Equus is a slightly controversial yet incredibly powerful play (this is my kind of play!).  I totally plan on going to see the show sometime.

I give 'Equus':
Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. I actually had tickets to see this on Broadway and ended up not being able to go. I still haven't read it, either, even though it's on my shelf. Based on this I better get on that! :)


I love your comments! Comment away!