In March 2007, newspapers in London were filled with reports about Equus, the play in which Daniel Radcliffe appeared nude. Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series of films, was praised for his performance in a play in which he enacted the role of Alan Strang, a teenager with a pathological fascination for horses.
Over two evenings, Tuesday and Wednesday, another Daniel now brings the production to Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai. Directed by Daniel D’Souza, an arts undergraduate from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, is directing the play and enacting the lead role.
Equus, written by Peter Shaffer in 1973, is based on the true incident of a boy blinding six horses. It tells the story of a psychiatrist, who attempts to treat a young man with a pathological, religious and sexual fascination for horses. The play was staged at the Royal National Theatre in London and since then has seen several revivals, including a 1977 film adaptation.
In December, when D’Souza and his friends needed to stage a play for Ithaka, the theatre festival organized by the English department of St Xavier’s College, they settled on Equus. Excited by the theatrical possibilities that the play allowed them, they put up an impressive performance. This led theatre personality Quasar Padamsee to invite the group to stage Equus at Prithvi Theatre as part of Thespo, a theatre festival for youth.
According to D’Souza, audience feedback that their performance was a mature rendition of the play is what most surprised the dozen 20-year-olds who have put up the play.
Padamsee, whose own journey with theatre began with Ithaka says it’s wonderful to see college festivals still inspiring students. He adds, “Equus promises to be the first of many theatrical ventures by this highly talented group.”
The play also stars Eamonn Ennis, Rebecca Spurgeon and Nakul Jayadevan, all are students of St Xavier’s College.
D’Souza, who had never imagined that the group’s efforts would scale this college, says “We are preparing to take the play to Bangalore and Chennai.”
But not before they’ve staged it once more at Prithvi.
Equus will be staged at Prithvi Theatre at 9pm on 2 and 3 March. For further details, contact 9821008871.