A long overdue assessment of 'Equus'

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 at 1:38pm

The Readers Voice Awards have been kicking my butt.

For the last few weeks, my calendar has been dominated by preparing photos, stories and layout for the Readers Voice issue, while trying to keep current with the other issues as well. I think it paid off. But it also means that I haven’t had time to write a few theater reviews for the online edition (there hasn’t been room in the print edition to hold all our stories lately). There were six shows — The Sisters Rosensweig, Opus, The Shape of Things, Boom, Bedroom Farce and Equus — which I saw but didn’t have room to write up. “Tomorrow,” I kept telling mysel. “I’ll find time.”

Well, three of those shows have closed. And one, Equus, is about to. And no reviews yet.

And that’s a shame. Especially because Equus, by our town’s gay theater company, taking over the old DTC space, is a pretty big deal. AND because it’s a very good show. Don’t miss it if you can get to it this weekend.

The play is a masterful psychological drama about a troubled boy and the psychiatrist who tries to unravel his psychosis. The verbal imagery is unshakable — the horses, the pagan rituals, the sex. And Uptown’s production, directed by Bruce Coleman, gives reality to those ideas. Some may call that too literalistic; I simply found it dead-on. While the horse heads are a little too small, everything else about the production design is impressive, including the sculpted bodies of the men playing the horses.

But it’s not a show about man-candy; it’s about humanity and very much sexuality; about how religion s both necessary to some men’s sense of order in the world and a damaging, destructive thing; about how connecting with another person is rife with dangers and rewards. It’s all very well-acted by the cast, including young Max Swarner as the disturbed boy. There are only three more performances; see one if you can.

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