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Equus
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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
on April 3, 2002
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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on August 9, 2000
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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on November 12, 1998
'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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on November 12, 1998
'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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on May 4, 1998
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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on March 3, 2000
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! This play deals with the mixture of parenting and religion, love and sex, the thin line between madness and normality...and all without preaching to the audience (a difficult task). The characters are realistically presented to the reader to the point that you can relate to them intimately. I continue to re-read this play because I can always find a new twist and it ultimately changes your view of people and psychology. Shaffer has become my model for skillful and realistic playwriting and characterization. BUY THIS ONE! Any playwright who passes his passion on to his audience like Shaffer is destined for continuous acclaim.
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on March 3, 1999
I must admit that I really only picked up this play for my AP English class because 1) it was on the list and 2) I like reading stuff about people who do perverse things e.g. blinding several horses with a steel spike. But this play was nothing like I expected. Subtly chilling but surprisingly affecting, I found myself (like the psychiatrist in the play) empathizing with and even envying the troubled Alan Strang's horrific act. But I really appreciate this play because writing about it on the AP Exam got me a 5 (the highest rating), and I currently have sophomore status as an english major in college thanks to it. Thank you, Peter Shaffer, for provoking my thoughts, as any good work of literature should, in this fabulous play.
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on March 18, 2000
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, energy left in my hand or ink left in my pen to complete the assignment. Everything about this play, the religion, sexual connotations and deep misunderstandings about the human mind contribute to a most disturbing atmosphere created by Schaffer, which works effectively to produce 'Equus'.
And just a note to anybody who had read the book, and something to encourage you future readers - look deeply into the names of the characters, Alan, Dora and Frank Strang. If you get out a name dictionary, you may discover something very interesting...
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on April 27, 2000
As the most well-known and acclaimed of Shaffer's plays, Equus definitely makes that reputation obvious as soon as you open the pages. As stylized and abstract as some of it is, it is nothing more than life changing. I saw a taped recording of it when Sir Anthony Hopkins played the role of Dysart, and it was brilliant, pure theatre. For theater-aficionados, this play should be in your script collection, no doubt! This is a play in which the audience is so spellbound that they have an extremely difficult time averting their eyes from the stage. For any directors or actors out there in a theatre production group, perform this play......no inhibitions needed!
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on March 27, 2001
This is one of the most dense, hard-hitting, catharsis-inducing, adjective-provoking works of modern theater and a keynote in contemporary literature. From the pen that scribbled the likes of Amadeus, Shaffer confronts such topics as teen sexuality, childhood imprinting and its effects upon later life, the sociology of religion, and other complex ideas in an interesting, visually stunning work. A great work from a great writer. I place this alongside other 20-th century theatrical masterpieces such as Miller's Death of a Salesman, Norman's 'Night Mother, Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Baraka's The Dutchman, and Sartre's No Exit.
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