- A play by Peter Shaffer, first produced in 1973 at the National Theatre, London, with Alec McGowan and Peter Firth in the leading roles. The following year it opened in New York, where it ran for two years and earnedTony Awards for Best Play and Best director (John Dexter). Richard Burton, oneof several actors to play the role of Dysart on Broadway, starred in the film version (1977) with Peter Firth and Jenny Agutter. There was a much publicized revival at London's Gielgud Theatre in 2007, when Daniel Radcliffe (cinema's Harry Potter), took the role of Alan.
A psychological drama, the play explores the conflict betweenrational and instinctive behaviour. The plot involves the effortsof a psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, to cure a delinquent stable boy,Alan Strang, who has wilfully blinded six horses as part of a quasi-religiousritual. Dysart goads Alan into confronting traumas from his childhood and his first love affair; Alan relives his relationships with horses, first worshipping them and then mutilating them. The psychoanalytical sessions uncover the sources of his violence, and Alan becomes calmer. However, Dysart comes to wonder whether Alan's life of demented passion may not be preferable to his own drily rationalexistence.In London, Equus caused a sensation because it displayed cruelty tohorses, in New York, because it allegedly displayed cruelty to psychiatrists.Peter Shaffer