Equus is a complex and instigating play, written by the English playwriter Peter Shaffer more than 30 years ago. The story is focused on the relationship of Alan Strang, a 17 year old boy admitted into a psychiatric ward of a hospital after, apparently without reason, blinding six horses; his doctor, Martin Dysart, a middle aged man struggling to keep his interest on his once loved job and his long gone marriage receives the incumbency of treating the boy.

The play offers a range of discussions, focusing on the alienation of a repressed family, on one side obsessed by religion, in the figure of the mother, on the other by hypocrisy and fear (the father). Definitely a timeless piece that continues to fascinate audiences around the world and now it's brought to New Zealand through the Peach Theatre Company, directed and produced by Jesse Peach.

Jesse said he's putting plays on West Auckland to create more opportunities to people living in the area, "and the only way to do it is by doing it". His previous works include Billy Liar and The GlassMenagerie (by Tennessee Williams), complex works that are "a good start for my career, considering my lack of experience"

"I think these plays are amazing scripts to work on...and I'm not doing it for the money (sometimes I actually lose it), but it's worth for the experience...

"The actors were all inspired in their performances, especially AshleyHawkes, who managed to avoid stereotypes in his interpretation and gave a personal "kiwi touch" to his Alan, making it closer and familiar to the public. It's worth mentioning the scene when the teenager is hypnotized by his doctor and, in a trance, talks about and acts his night horse rides... His intensity reverberated through the small and cozy theatre taking some tears out of the astonished audience. Ashley seems to have all the tools to become a great actor; same could be said about the director.

He always emphasized the fact he's inexperienced, however it's important mentioning his courage and initiative for taking such a demanding play, adapting it on his own resources, assembling a well tuned cast and delivering a respectable and interesting result.

Phil Adams, who's playing the psychiatrist, presented us with a complex performance, his character's loneliness and even vulnerability gets more evident throughout the play...

Annie Whittle is simply genius as Alan's mother, Dora. Her neurotic and nervous laugh, her lost eyes, the entire body language gave the audience the exact idea of the buried emotions eating her character and a desperate need to let it all out. Patrick Wilson also played a very interesting, almost hilarious, Frank Strang, showing how a small role offers innumerous possibilities to a good actor.

Another great surprise is Elaine Vaughan, playing Hesther, a boss and friend for Martin. Her character was alive an vibrant, her performance simple and effective, capturing the empathy of the audience.

The cast is familiar to Jesse, having worked with most of them previously, "as they are all great actors bringing different experiences and theatre is all about collaborations - making the process more exciting. We also had a great time during the rehearsals, making the process fun", he says.

When asked if being inexperienced gave him an encouragement to risk, Jesse emphasizes: "definitely, I've got nothing to lose... directing is satisfying but a lot of hard work. All that I do, acting, directing, reporting... it's all about telling a story and making it accessible to people, so all medias are inter related. It feels like I'm doing the same thing in different medias..."

Some of Jesse Peach's future projects are a play in Titirangi, as well as a kid's play, but for the moment there's nothing confirmed. The important thing is that Auckland - West Auckland for starters - has got a prolific and visionary director eager to bring great plays. For what I've seen so far the possibilities are amazing, time and more work will make Jesse Peach one of NZ's great names in theatre.

Written by Roberto Drummond

The play is also a movie, with Richard Burton and Peter Firth.
Highly recommended.

EQUUS, a play by Peter Shaffer

WHERE: Playhouse Theatre, Glen Eden (09) 818 5751

TICKETS: On Line booking through iTicket or(09) 361 1000
Adults $22 - Students $18

WHEN: Until the 21st of April, 8pm starts

Directed by Jesse Peach
Cast: Phil Adams, Ahley Hawkes, Annie Whittle, Patrick Wilson, ElaineVaughan, Beth Allen, Sarah Gallagher, David Mitchell, Steven A. Davis,Rohan Glynn, Russell Golding, Vasa Teale, Karlos Wrennall.

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RONALDO said...

Saludos Julinho! ... Como siempre buenas sugerencias.

Julio Panoff said...

Tu blog esta muy bueno, estoy seguro to show en la radio debe estar buenissimo.