Directed by Michael Colucci
At Redtwist Theatre Chicago
New version of Equus becomes Dr. Dysart’s show
Redtwist Theatre’s re-conceived and re-staged production of their 2007 hit production of Equus features a three quarter thrust stage, new background music and many new players. The result is a different experience as this Equus is dominated by the wonderful fully truthful work by Brian Parry who gives Dr. Martin Dysart a most hauntingly compelling turn. As in some productions of Equus, the character of Dysart can loom large when the actor playing the distraught psychologist is strong. That is the cast here as the intimate thrust staging puts Dysart literally in the audience’s face while Alan is shuttered to an obscure place on the stage for much of the show.
Equus is the story of why a 17 year old boy would pluck the eyes out of horses entrusted to him. Equus is a psychological drama, a mystery that pits the veteran psychologist in a battle for the soul of the disturbed boy. Alan (Andrew Jessop) has so much mixed up passion and pain conflicting him that he acts out as his religious-sexual urges become distorted in the eyes and manner of horses. Since Jessop plays Alan as an internally conflicted soul confused by his own actions, Dysart emerges as the character in desperate search of his own worship so that he can experience his own pain in order to gain passion in his life. Kudos to Brian Parry for such a deeply intense and thoroughly nuanced performance.
The 2010 Redtwist Theatre production of Equus is serviceable with moments of truth but the interplay between Alan and Dysart lacks those magical mystical connections that raises Equus to the level of high drama. Brian Parry’s performance alone is reason enough to this show.
At Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL, call 773-rav-play, www.redtwist.org, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 25 minutes with intermission.