BY BILLY SUTER
NOMINATED for three Oscars in 1977 – for the performances of Richard Burton and Peter Firth, as well as for the screenplay by Peter Shaffer, based on his hit stage play – Equus is a gripping and iconic psychological thriller that is now being staged in Cape Town before a season in Johannesburg.
The new Pieter Toerien production stars Graham Hopkins as psychiatrist Dr Martin Dysart and Sven Ruygrok as 17-year-old Alan Strang – a stable boy assessed by Dysart after the teenager is arrested for blinding six horses with a metal spike.
When teenager Alan Strang’s pathological fascination leads him to brutally blind six horses in a Hampshire stable, psychiatrist Dr Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive behind the boy’s violent act.
As Dysart delves into Alan’s world of twisted spirituality, passion and sexuality, he begins to question his own sanity and motivations in a world driven by reckless consumerism.
With its controversial nude scene and simulated sex act, Equus still causes quite a stir amongst theatre goers wherever it is performed around the world – a fairly recent production having starred featured Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Strang.
Toerien’s highly acclaimed 1985 production of Equus at the Alhambra Theatre introduced a young and talented Jeremy Crutchley to an adoring South African public.
The role of Dysart has also been played by a glowing list of stars over the years, including Anthony Hopkins and Leonard Nimoy.
This new South African production runs at Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay until April 20, then moves to the Pieter Toerien Theatre in Montcasino, Johannesburg, from April 26 to May 26.
The production is directed by Fred Abrahamse, whose recent credits include novel interpretations of Macbeth and Hamlet. Abrahamse’s long-time collaborators, designer Marcel Meyer and composer Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, join the creative team.
Celebrated choreographer Marc Goldberg has created specialised movement and choreography for the production
The cast includes Monique Basson, Maggie Gericke, Andrew Roux, Marc Goldberg, Cassandra-Tendai Mapanda and Len-Barry Simons.
Tickets for performances in Cape Town range in price from R140 to R240.
Performances in Johannesburg will be at 8pm every Wednesday to Friday, at 4pm and 8pm on Saturdays, and 2.30pm and 6pm on Sundays.
Tickets range in price from R100 to R240 and can be booked at the theatre and at Computicket outlets.