Photo courtesy of Second Life Productions Ed Theakston as the troubled Alan Strang and Kevin Daugherty as his psychiatrist Martin Dysart in Equus, now at Frenetic Theater
Sir Peter Shaffer, knighted in 2001, has given us scores of plays, with Amadeus, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and Equus the best known of them. Equus is a detective story of sorts as a psychiatrist tries to find out why a 17-year-old boy blinded six horses. The 1975 Broadway production of Equus starred Anthony Hopkins and Peter Firth, and won the Tony Award as Best Play. Firth also starred in the film version with Richard Burton. A 2007 London and 2008 Broadway production starring Daniel Radcliffe as the youth was acclaimed.
Now the very enterprising Matthew C. Logan brings a revival to the Frenetic Theater, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, with the production serving as his thesis for an MFA in directing.
Shaffer is a lyrical writer who can express complex ideas in flowing language, and also has a keen visual sense, so that what you see can be more important than what you hear. I saw the original Broadway production, and also a dramatically different New Theatre production in Miami in 2010, so I was eagerly awaiting the Logan production. It is astonishingly good, though flawed in some details, and rivals in many ways the New York version in its grasp of the subtleties of Shaffer's text.