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Equus [Paperback]

Peter Shaffer
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Paperback, May 28 1984 --  
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Book Description

May 28 1984 Penguin Plays
Teenager Alan, fought over by a religious mother and an atheist father, finds release in horses, until he is driven to blind them with a spike. Why? While treating the boy, a psychiatrist discovers his own life is paradoxically in the witness box.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ...comments on Equus April 3 2002
By Phil
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this play very much and have read it several times. Each time I read the play I grasp a better understanding of what Shaffer may be conveying to the audience. This play made me ask so many questions about society today and what some of the truths are in life.
I do not believe this play to be about materialism or convenience and the killing of our capacity for worship, passion, or pain. Alan had a capacity for worship and passion, just not within the normal boundaries of societies acceptable views. Alan had the capacity for pain, but reached his climax when in the stable and blinded the six horses. If man is materialistic it is because the opportunity presents itself and we are already that way. There is no spiritual or mental decay of modern man. Religion flourishes as it always has, and causes peace and war as it always will. We know more now than we ever did in the past about medicine, science, the arts, humanity, the origin of man, and life itself.
In the case of Alan, he suffers from mental illness, but can be healed with love and passion from those around him; Dysart being the one to take the first step and not giving up on him. Worship is not a human need, but the freedom of worship is a human right. I believe this play to hold these truths; the human need for understanding, compassion, and healing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Believe it or not, a page turner!! Aug. 9 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This play was incredible!! I chose to read it because Peter Shaffer was one of the authors on my AP English list. Usually literature for school is boring and dull, but this is not. From the first scene to the last, I was unable to put it down. There is so much to the play; it's really quite eerie. I especially liked the play (besides the fact that it is interesting) because there was so much to analyze and ways to "take it." Usually it is hard to interpret works, but this one is so complex, the reader muct pick on some meaning. I really hope to see the play on stage. Sure, the play is "out there" but I recommend it highly!! For those who would like a summary, it is about a boy named Alan who is sent to Dr. Dysart (psychiatrist) instead of prison (he blinded 6 horses). What happens during the play is that Dysart tries different ways to get Alan (who is difficult) to speak about his experiences. Alan has a passion for horses and this passion makes Dysart rethink his own life. My advice: just read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars EQUUS - A PASSION!!!! Nov. 12 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
'Equus' has been with me since I first saw the National Theatre production of it on the stage of the Old Vic in London, England, in 1975(?). I had gone alone and at the end of the performance walked down the road exhausted, uplifted, deeply moved, and saying audibly, but to myself, 'One day I have to be in that play.' I was hooked. I bought a copy and read it time and time again. I saw it several more times in London and then in the provinces. A total of 14 performances in all - to date!! In 1979, the year it was released to the amateur world, the group I worked with did it and I achieved my ambition, to play Alan Strang. To actually perform the play, to get inside and struggle with the challenges that Schaffer sets was a tremendous experience. Schaffer has given us a beautifully crafted play. Its strength, for me, is not just in the writing or in the plot but in his ability to use strong theatrical devices, like ritual and conflict, to such great effect. I hope in the next year, 1999, it will be possible to direct the play for the amateur group I now belong to, as 20 years down the line, I feel its time to revisit it and bring it to a new audience. This is a play about PASSION.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EQUUS - A PASSION!!!! Nov. 12 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
'Equus' has been with me since I first saw the National Theatre production of it on the stage of the Old Vic in London, England, in 1975(?). I had gone alone and at the end of the performance walked down the road exhausted, uplifted, deeply moved, and saying audibly, but to myself, 'One day I have to be in that play.' I was hooked. I bought a copy and read it time and time again. I saw it several more times in London and then in the provinces. A total of 14 performances in all - to date!! In 1979, the year it was released to the amateur world, the group I worked with did it and I achieved my ambition, to play Alan Strang. To actually perform the play, to get inside and struggle with the challenges that Schaffer sets was a tremendous experience. Schaffer has given us a beautifully crafted play. Its strength, for me, is not just in the writing or in the plot but in his ability to use strong theatrical devices, like ritual and conflict, to such great effect. I hope in the next year, 1999, it will be possible to direct the play for the amateur group I now belong to, as 20 years down the line, I feel its time to revisit it and bring it to a new audience. This is a play about PASSION.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've just finished reading this version of Equus for the third time now, and I never get tired of it. I've also just finished a 23 page paper on Peter Shaffer for my play analysis class, and I have to tell you, Equus is a drama that I thouroughly enjoy. It's probably my favorite play because it deals with not only the subject of the human need for worship, but Equus is also about a search for faith, for Dysart and Alan. It deals with the concepts of religion as well; and being a Christian, I could apply my own teachings to the text. The basic synopsis is an adolescent boy named Alan Strang has committed a horrible crime of blinding six horses in a stable in southern England. After being taking to the local magistrates, he's dubbed as mentally ill (which he is), and is taken to Dr. Martin Dysart, a well-known and respected psychiatrist for evaluation. What unfolds from there, is such an engrossing story into Alan's primal mind and as to why he did this act, you won't believe. Equus speaks to everyone. The conflict for Dysart, who is "utterly worshipless" vs. Alan Strang who activlely and genuinely worships his god Equus is this: I can cure Alan of his illness and make him "Normal"; but how can I do it without stripping him of his genuine worship, which is the core of his life? The story will touch you and make you think, fundamentally. If you've never seen the show, find it somewhere near you and go see it; it's meant to be seen. I had the luxury of seeing it performed at the famously known Stratford Theatre Festival last year in Canada, and it blew me away. The play is quite simply, amazing.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Chilling Mystery
Imagine this:
Step one: take an Agatha Christie novel
Step two: mix in a bit of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Step three: add a little bit of sexual innuendo... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2001 by Gary Jaffe
4.0 out of 5 stars Frightening, yet powerful
Equus is a hard-hitting dramatic work that will make readers question their beliefs in mental illness, religion (particularly Christianity), and the emotional and spiritual... Read more
Published on Dec 17 2001 by Emily McMahon
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the masterpieces of contemporary theater
This is one of the most dense, hard-hitting, catharsis-inducing, adjective-provoking works of modern theater and a keynote in contemporary literature. Read more
Published on March 27 2001 by Account Killer
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerfull
I hate reading with a pasion and the only reason I have read this is because that is is one of our set works . Read more
Published on May 31 2000 by Tony Fryer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Play
Equus is a powerful play dealing with a myriad of issues including psychiatry, love, crime, insanity and family in a compact and readable manner. Read more
Published on May 30 2000 by Adam Shah
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer disturbing brilliance......
As the most well-known and acclaimed of Shaffer's plays, Equus definitely makes that reputation obvious as soon as you open the pages. Read more
Published on April 27 2000 by Clay Bacon
5.0 out of 5 stars The eyes of the beholder.......
Schaffer's play about the blinding of stabled horses by a young man professed to have a deep love for horses is both disturbing and spell-binding. Read more
Published on April 12 2000 by Dudley Ristow
5.0 out of 5 stars He blinded six horses with a metal spike...
My GCSE (16+ exams) English coursework title - "What makes 'Equus' a powerful play?" After rattling on for 6 sides, I realised that I was never going to have enough time,... Read more
Published on March 18 2000 by Sarah Perkin
5.0 out of 5 stars This is why I'm in theatre!
Equus was the first of Shaffer's works that I had read and I'm happy for the opportunity. This play IS theatre; if you're not ready to be impacted, put this one down! Read more
Published on March 3 2000 by D. Landrum
5.0 out of 5 stars A Frightening Realisation
It is a pleasure of mine, as Head of the Faculty of English at Baltimore University, to occasionally come across such fine writing as Shaffer's Equus. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2000 by Dr J. Evans Pritchard
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