Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Equus


When I was a kid, my mom, who worked at the University of South Florida, would occasionally take me and my brother to theater productions there. We’d put on our suit jackets from J.C. Penney, and our clip-on ties, and go see “Pippin” or “West Side Story.” It was an exciting night out and it taught us to enjoy, and how to behave at, a live performance.

One year the production we were seeing -- it may have been “Pippin” -- shared the printed program with the play “Equus.” I remember the program featured a line drawing of a horse. I told Mom I wanted to see “Equus” too, but she said no, that was an adult play. Ever since then, even after reading about it here and there, I’ve wanted an opportunity to see it.

Finally, last night, I got the chance. Equus is on Broadway now with Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame). It’s certainly a dark play, about a troubled young man who makes horses the subject of his social frustrations and sexual passion. It’s told through the man’s sessions with his psychiatrist, and the play explores religion and repression and other themes.

Gee, why would my mother have objected?

Anyway, it’s a terrific play, and the actors do a great job. And I feel like I finally filled a long-standing gap in my cultural history!

(Photo: Shadow of a chair on Broadway in Midtown, Sept. 2008)

12 comments:

Barbara said...

I have distant memories of seeing Equus on Broadway in the 70's. It was dark and troubling, but I much prefer that to a musical where everyone always sings in a major key.

I can just see you and your brother putting on those little clip-on ties. I guess you should be grateful that you had culture in your life. There was not much of that in Panama City, but we did take advantage of what little there was.

tut-tut said...

I also have distant, but distinct, memories of seeing Equus in the 1970s. It was a very powerful play indeed. It is a lucky thing to have parents who take the time, effort, and money to provide opportunities to see, hear, and experience different kinds of art and performance.

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

"We’d put on our suit jackets from J.C. Penney, and our clip-on ties, and go see 'Pippin' or 'West Side Story'.”

Cute! But, you were destined to be gay! Hahaha!

Reya Mellicker said...

Exquisite photo!

Was it weird to see Harry Potter in that role?

Steve said...

B&T: I am very thankful that my mom took the time to give us that experience.

JDZS: It was the musicals that did it! :)

Reya: Actually, I've never seen any of the Harry Potter movies, so I don't have such a strong association with Daniel Radcliffe in that role. I thought he did an excellent job interpreting a very difficult character.

Merle Sneed said...

The forst stae production of anything I ever saw was done by my high school's drama class.

I cannot ever recall my folks even taking us to an indoor movie. We did go to the drive-in movie from time to time, but we didn't wear ties. :)

bulletholes said...

"Clockwork Orange" is kind of that way with me, that is, a piece missing. I remember when I was a Kid, we could sing the song from "Hair" and the one from "Jesus Christ Superstar" and we knew what those plays were about, even if we hadn't seen them, but they had like an evil third sibling, 'Clockwork" that we knew nothing about.
After all these years, I still haven't seen "Clockwork".
Or Equus.
And it seems like there is another one quite notorious, but I can't put my finger on it right now.

Betty said...

I missed Equus while it was in London, but heard that it was good.
Didn't go to the theatre as a child, but Mum took me to the ballet and to orchestral concerts.
Love going to the theatre now - especially the Old Vic, where Kevin Spacey is the artistic director and is doing really good stuff there.

d. chedwick said...

When I saw Equus on Broadway, Richard Burton played the psychiatrist and I don't recall who else was in the play--I was a fan of Burton as a teen, and was just happy to see him onstage.

bulletholes said...

It wasn't "Clockwork"...
It was "Oh Calcutta" that I used to wonder about. They said there was nudity on stage. Disgraceful.

Gary said...

I will see Equus soon but have bitter memories of this show because when I was 17 I was cast as the lead in a college production but had to turn it down because I was stage managing 'Vanities" and the school would not let me out of my commitment. I'm still angry because this was an ACTING program! OY! I would have kicked ass in that role. An opportunity that will never come again. Am I bitter? Absolutely.

lettuce said...

i heard that young daniel did a good job

only ever saw the film (Richard Burton) - but its very powerful