2014 Phoebe Rees Awards
Best Creative Lighting
Best Artistic Impression
Best Actor: Matt Townsend as Alan Strang
Best Male Youth Under 21: Matt Townsend as Alan Strang
Equus depicts a psychiatrist’s fascination with a disturbed teenager’s mythopoeic obsession with horses.
The drama unfolds through the eyes of Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist and an amateur mythologist, who narrates the events of his rehabilitation of Alan Strang, a 17-year-old stable boy who has been arrested for blinding six horses. Confused by the conflict between his father’s agnosticism and voyeurism and his mother’s secretive religious devotion, Alan has grown to worship horses as deities of great religious and sexual power.
Peter Shaffer was born in Liverpool, England, on May 15, 1926, along with his twin brother, Anthony, who would also become a writer. Shaffer studied history on a scholarship from Cambridge University, and worked a number of odd jobs before discovering his dramatic talents.
Shaffer's canon contains a unique mix of philosophical dramas and satirical comedies. the Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964) presents the tragic conquest of Peru by the Spanish, while Black Comedy (1965) takes a hilarious look at the antics of a group of characters feeling their way around a pitch black room. Equus (1973) won Shaffer the 1975 Tony Award for Best Play as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and ran for over 1000 performances on Broadway. Shaffer followed this success with Amadeus (1979) which won the Evening Standard Drama Award and the Theatre Critics Award for the London production.
When a stable girl attempts to seduce Alan, he is impotent in the presence of the horses and blinds them in a fit of uncontrolled anger and guilt. Dysart grows to appreciate the depth and power of Alan’s feelings and to regret that his successful treatment of the boy will rob him of his creative vitality.