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Equus Paperback – October 1, 2005
2016 Book Awards
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Top Customer Reviews
At the heart of this story is Alan Strang, a disturbed young man whose obsession with horses has caused him to commit a horrible act of violence: the blinding of six horses in the stable where he works. Treating him is psychiatrist Martin Dysart, who, as we watch him interact with Alan, his parents, and those in the community, works to make sense of the events leading up to the act, and the mystery of why someone would do such a thing. As he does, he finds himself submerging deeper and deeper into the world not of a violent, crazy person, but a boy capable of great compassion and warmth; a boy who's problem we soon realize is not solely in his head, but also in the discord he feels between the detached feelings everyone else has toward horses and the intense tenderness he feels toward them.
In another life, Shaffer could have easily rocked the detective fiction genre. It's not every day someone can take a heady physiatrist narrative and turn it into a suspenseful psychodrama. Using flashback, hypnosis, and re-enactment, Shaffer is able to show us how the process of unraveling the mystery of another person can be just as thrilling and intense as solving a who-done-it.
At the same time, this isn't just a story about a strange act of violence.Read more ›
This play was written in the 19720s, inspired by a true story. It was set in a small town, a town where everyone seems to know each other, and "downtown" was only a couple blocks away. The innocent setting soon gives way the the cruel events that are about to take place. The cruelty of Alan's actions is beyond the comprehension of many people in this unsuspecting town. Dalton, the owner of the stables, the place of Alan's crime, asks "Look...why would anyone do that?"
The play opens with a teenage boy stroking a horse, and a psychiatrist, Dysart, observing him. As Dysart watches the boy, his observations quickly turn into questions, which is Dysart's way of expressing his bewilderment at the workings of mankind. Shaffer skillfully integrates this case study with themes related to the dysfunction and cruelty of mankind when it is pushed past its tolerance level for sanity. The play proceeds through the investigation of Alan's crime through interviews and personal narratives. The suspense begins to increase as Alan tells more of his story. Suddenly, Alan breaks and tells Dysart everything. He tells the events of that night in detail, leaving the audience in shock at his sudden snap and stunned into silence at Alan's story. After telling his story, Alan throws a fit, and has to be calmed down by Dysart. At the very end, Dysart is asked to "heal" Alan.Read more ›
Richard Burton and Peter Firth give once-in-a-lifetime performances, ones that I will always remember.
For anybody interested in this play I would suggest to read it first and then see the production. Having a personal response and relationship with the characters before allowing other people to portray their interpretation I think will render the best results and achieve what Shaffer was getting at.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good book in my opinion , has a great story and is fast to read because is a playPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
So happy to finally get a copy of this magnificent play....it's a masterpiece!!Published 3 months ago by Ashley
This play will make you say "what the fuh" out loud. A few times. Book came in great condition.Published 6 months ago by Teresa C