Equus - Segal Centre of Arts


Without a doubt, Segal Centre’s production of this daring play stunningly brings together those most
coveted elements of great theatre: brilliant acting, a set that visually transports the audience into mind, matter and magic, and lighting merging with music and set to enhance the emotional tenor of plot,
mood and character.

In this case, the plot places Alan Strang a 17-year-old tormented man in the care of Dr. Martin Dysart, a brilliant psychiatrist who admits both his profession and his beloved books on Greek mythology
painfully fail in waking him up to passion that he longs for and witnesses in his patient. In fact, he is envious of the demented teen who has scorched out the eyes of five horses in the stable where he
was working. If only he could feel, as his patient does! But will the reason come to light as to why the supposedly gentle Alan would do such a hideous act? Sex, religion, secrets and repression find their
outlet in Alan’s deeply disturbing fantasies. As the truth unfolds, the play reaches a climax of such intensity that audience and character seem to become one. Bravo!

It is a brilliant play that rightfully earned a Tony in 1975. Written by Peter Shaffer, Equus epitomizes the virtues of British playwriting at it best. Sharp dialogue delivered with crisp intensity and wit wound
into a taut knot vividly highlight the actors’ sterling performances dedicated to the intent of action. The British accents, sparse movements and uncomplicated connectedness played in contrast to the inherent dramatic horror of the event that gives rise to the play itself.

Without going into a who’s who, suffice it to say that director Domy Reiter-Soffer is giftedly artistic. He is a painter, writer, designer and teacher hailing from Israel. His bold and inspired vision of Equus
demonstrates a rare ability to integrate and combine video, dance and music into an organic whole that plays to the play’s very essence; it is nothing less than sheer genius.

Jean Marchand in the role of Dysart is spellbinding, utterly articulate and natural in the role. He is a gifted actor. Likewise, Dan Jeannotte as Alan Strang was truly amazing and wholly believable. It is not
easy for any actor to bare both soul and body in front of an audience, but Jeannotte was mesmerizing as he performed his most powerful scene where he blinded the boundaries between man, horse and
woman. Supportive roles, impressively played by Susan Glover as judge Hesther Salomon; and Daniel Lilliford as Alan’s father, along with Patricia Summersett as Jill Mason, a stable girl who desired
Alan, did not go unnoticed. Kudos to veteran lighting designer, John Dinning whose gifts have garnered countless awards –-his set design creations have filled stages all over the world, and in this
particular play eerily anchor the wonderful, evocative music composed by Christian Thomas who surely would have been grabbed by Alfred Hitchcock were he still alive. Bravo for this superb
production of Equus, which in my mind far surpassed the production I saw in New York City 35 years ago.