Holy guacamole. Equus.
I love plays. And shows. And musicals. In fact, for my birthday a few weeks ago my best friend took me to see Chicago because he knows how much of a musical nerd I am.
And while reading a play is an entirely different experience than seeing one, I absolutely love reading them for their own reasons. And the biggest one has to do with story telling.
If you can tell me a full story that I can visualize, with character development, plot progression, AND make me feel things, I’m impressed. If you can do all that with just dialogue and set descriptions, I’m beyond impressed. I don’t even know how you can convey that much emotion in dialogue; no internal thoughts no peeking into the protagonists brain.
Not every play can do this, but Shaffer sure can.
You’ve probably heard of him. Amadeus is a thing. 2008 naked Daniel Radcilffe was a thing. I’d read and seen some of his stuff, but never Equus. And holy crap I was missing out.
Young guy blinds six horses with a spike. A psychiatrist tries to figure out why, and what can be done about it.
But perhaps the most surprising element, it isn’t gory or glorifying.
Religion, mental health, defining normal, feeling the full range of emotions, family, base needs, ritual. This play touches on everything but at it’s core it’s an exploration of passion.
Which I was not expecting. I’d heard about the eye thing and the naked thing so I went into this reading with some reservations. But I was blown away.
At one point, the judge involved in the incident basically tells the psychiatrist he needs to cure the boy so he can go on to live a ‘normal life.’ The psychiatrist is torn, because to do that the boy would have to be stripped of everything he is devoted to. And what would that leave him with?
I thought the psychiatrist was a little dramatic when he talked about how working a ‘normal’ 9-5 and buying a house and settling down would basically be death compared to how he’s felt. But it did inspire questions about passion and what that means. So I’m going to go think about those now.
Equus is a quick but powerful reading so go get it. Seriously, go read it. Right now.
LOL also apparently there’s some horse website actually called EQUUS and I’m cackling.