EQUUS . . . enough said.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

After reading the play Equus, I learned the how powerful and ingenious the storyline really is. Just by reading the play you can take note on what conventions of dramatic structure are at work, thus causing the actions which were happening to pull together and make sense. Without a doubt the dramatic structure is the key factor in creating the true effect of the story. It all started with concerning Hesther stressing her need for Dr. Dysart’s psychological assistance.
In Equus the focus and emphasis was almost obviously pointed out in the beginning. Within the first few scenes the audience attention was on Alan, the boy who Hesther was eagerly seeking help for. From that point on the play became a story of Dysart trying to discover the truth in Alan’s tale, thus establishing a mysterious mood. The play had an element of suspense and unknown that left the audience creating thoughts in their minds of what might had taken place and what that might have meant. For instance in between Dysart’s meetings with Alan, the boy would sometimes just call it a day leaving Dysart in the dark. On other days Alan would finally reveal his story although it was difficult to take him seriously, there was no telling whether it was true or if he was making it all up.
Another dramatic element that I believe was in Equus was limited space. Although Alan’s stories brought the audience’s attention to his bedroom and some for the barn where he worked at, these places seemed to be recreated and reenacted in Dr. Dysart’s where the play seemed to dominantly take place. Dysart’s office became the common ground for all the characters to meet and interact with helping Dysart discover the crisis with Alan.
An additional crucial convention of dramatic structure in Equus is conflict. In the storyline Alan seems to be in conflict with everyone including Dysart, his parents, Jill, the horses, and himself. Another device used by Shaffer to create friction between forces is by restricting the characters to the members of a family. Shaffer created a rivalry between Alan and his parents. More or less Alan’s relationship between his mother seemed to be categorized with religion. In reality his nonexistent bond between him and his father had some true difficulties towards the end as they came across each other at the movie. All of these elements and happenings play as a role in Alan’s resulting calamity.
Incentives and motivation also play a factor in the play. Dysart’s determination is key to Alan allowing his true feeling and story to be revealed. Dysart sets himself a goal to discover what is that is making Alan feel this way and allows the audience to connect with Dysart and Alan on this quest. Dysart’s task also lies in the dramatic convention of obstacles and complications. His challenge to overcome Alan’s fears is very difficult considering he is just finding out Alan’s true story behind his actions. All in all the play Equus is full of dramatic conventions, making it an excitable play to read and to watch in the future.
This first part of my blog was written prior to our NYC trip to view the Broadway show Equus. I don’t consider myself a fan of the Harry Potter movies, therefore when it was mentioned that Daniel Radcliffe had a lead in Equus I thought nothing of it. This state of mind lasted less than a second, or however long it took my fellow classmates to realize they were about to meet their Hollywood idol. Personally after viewing the show I would categorize Mr. Radcliffe as a brilliant stage actor, whether he’s as amazing on film I will not know until I watch his Harry Potter movies. I walked into the theater not knowing what to expect from the acting, but with an insight on how the plot was going to roll out. Thankfully both of these factors helped me understand and enjoy the show. Not only was Mr. Radcliffe’s portrayal of Alan superior but his fellow leading actors and actresses also raised the bar for true acting in the Broadway theatres.
Besides the Harry Potter star phenomena, I strongly suggest the show for the fact that words do not do the show justice. Viewing the interpretation of the horses alone make the show well worth it. It’s definitely a must see show!