Peter Shaffer. EQUUS

  • Director

    Jokūbas BRAZYS

  • Duration

    3 h (two acts)

  • Stage

    Small Stage

  • Premiere date

    9th September, 2022

  • N-18

About

Translated from English by Kristina Steiblytė

 

The art of horsemanship: developing a horse’s innate athletic qualities through advanced riding techniques and encouraging the horse’s willingness to demonstrate these qualities. The highest level is attained when the horse obeys even the gentlest commands of the rider immediately and without resistance yet remains relaxed and seemingly effortless.

Seventeen-year-old Alan Strang blinds six horses.

The art of horsemanship: a horse’s coat needs to be extremely clean, brushed several times, and sometimes even polished with various products. Visible areas of its nostrils and ears are also cleaned. The hooves are usually blackened. The rider wears special white riding trousers and a bowler hat, a belt, and a white high collar shirt. The gloves must be white and the jacket black.

Seventeen-year-old Alan Strang blinds six horses.

In an attempt to understand his obsessions, the psychiatrist Martin Dysart embarks on a detective-like odyssey into Alan’s depraved horrific subconscious. The doctor, who has reached professional menopause, hides his disillusionment with life in the albums of ancient Greek art and desperately searches for an escape from his self-imposed routine. However, his sense of sanity and normalcy, of what is right and wrong collapses when he realises that the subconscious, which must be put on the table of dissection of such notions, is his own. Having stepped into the labyrinth of Alan’s madness, the psychiatrist gets lost in the dead end of his own fears and nightmares.

Alan’s soul is destroyed by both the inadequacy of institutionalised religion and the lack of religiosity (as a form of mental and spiritual expression). He is living in a void of echoing frustrated desires and shapeless ghosts. Awareness of what he cannot find out, because he cannot even begin to explore a reality in which he does not belong anyway, torments him.

There is no other way out and no choice but to create one’s own deity, Equus – the horse, the archetypal beast that unleashes the devouring lust for life. However, deities must be offered sacrifices. And when you run out of sacrifices, you must either sacrifice yourself or slaughter the deity on its own altar.

The British playwright Peter Shaffer wrote this play in 1973, after hearing the story of a boy who mutilated six horses in Suffolk, a small town in East Anglia. The writer, who never found out the true circumstances of the incident, used this fact for his story and invented the motives that might have led the seventeen-year-old to do this. Peter Shaffer is a renowned British author, playwright and screenwriter who won numerous awards (including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Tony), held honorary doctorates from a number of universities. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and was named Knight Bachelor. In Equus, Shaffer focused on the themes of faith, societal mores, expectations, normalcy, and resistance to all that is ordinary and conventional. The writer introduced a dramatic aspect into the conflict between Apollonian and Dionysian values in human life.

Director Jokūbas Brazys, who has chosen the play Equus as his first production at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, focuses on the encounter with his own God. The viewers are invited to take a journey into Alan’s subconscious as detectives, in order to discover the motives behind his actions, the price of normalcy, and to confront their deities together with him.

Creators

  • Director — Jokūbas BRAZYS
  • Set Designer — Guoda JARUŠEVIČIŪTĖ
  • Costume Designer — Karolina FIODOROVAITĖ
  • Composer — Mantas MOCKUS
  • Light designer — Vilius VILUTIS
  • Video Designers — Vilius VILUTIS, Martynas UNGURYS
  • Director's Assistant — Augustas GORNATKEVIČIUS
  • Producer — Rugilė PUKŠTYTĖ
  • Set Designer's Assistant — Augustė SMALIUKAITĖ

Cast

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