September 16, 2008

Take a bow, Dan

crowd outside stage door
crowd across the street
I wasn't sure how I would like the story of a troubled stable hand who blinded 6 horses. But I had to see the Equus revival simply because Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is making his Broadway debut. And what a stunning debut! I've always thought Mr. Radcliffe is a smart, handsome, funny young man. After seeing Peter Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play, I'm convinced his controversial decision to play Alan Strang was a wise one. Apart from the initial thrill of seeing him walk onstage, I got so involved in the plot that I immediately forgot I was watching Harry Potter's alter-ego. I felt like a proud mother seeing her son all grown up, proving his acting mettle and taking the Great White Way by storm. Even the much-ballyhooed nude scene had lost its titillation factor because at that point, I was so drawn into the plight of this poor boy. Mr. Radcliffe's performance moved me and my sisters to tears.

And let's not forget his HP co-star, Richard Griffiths back on Broadway after his Tony winning turn in The History Boys. He reprises his role as Martin Dysart, the psychiatrist trying to help the disturbed teen. He is forced to confront his own problems and question his life, his profession. Mr. Griffiths is onstage the whole time with Daniel. The chemistry, the mutual respect between him and his young co-star is evident.

Equus is one of the most intense, thought-provoking, disturbing theatre experiences I've ever had. It is by turns tragic and comic. The playwright does provide some levity, albeit biting humor at times. To me, it is less about the stable boy's sexual attraction to horses and more about religion and the hypocrisy surrounding it, the all-too-human search for a power higher than ourselves, our search for purpose and passion in our own lives.

And no, we didn't see them at the stage door because it was a madhouse. All we could hear was the crowd roar whenever a cast member came out. I saw the back of Richard Griffiths' head as he got in the car, and we saw Daniel's car leave. That was it. Still a great evening though.


Jon said...


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