Incline Presents the Challenging, Provocative “Equus”

Sneak Peek by Doug Iden of Equus: Incline Theatre

What is illness?  Does society have an obligation to try to heal a sick person who has committed a heinous crime?  How can religious confusion shape a person’s actions?  These are some of the questions being asked in Peter Shaffer’s classic play Equus opening at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater on April 6 through April 23.

Equus tells the story of Alan Strang (played by Christopher Carter) a very disturbed young man who blinds six horses for seemingly no reason.  Psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysert (veteran Mike Hall) is asked to consult with Alan.  This leads to a series of interviews with family and acquaintances as Dysert tries to determine Alan’s motivations.  The mystery deepens as the play progresses.  The good doctor is also fighting some demons of his own.  Dysert is self-conflicted because he lacks the passion to conduct a proper investigation.  When the circumstances of his actions become known, Alan risks being considered unlikeable and a pariah.   But Alan must learn to “know himself” before coming to grips with the truth.  Religious and ritual sacrifice themes are also present as Alan appears to confuse the horses with his vision of a deity.

Director Greg Procaccino was drawn to the play because of its creativity and dramatic content.  It is an abstract “theater of the mind” with a minimalist setting and costumes.  The classic tragic Greek themes are emphasized by the use of masks and all of the characters wear black.  This is a thinking person’s play because, according to Procaccino, it gets into the audience’s head.  He continues that, in this era of constant noise and electronics, the audience needs to use their imaginations and creativity more to help fill in the blanks.

The play has maintained its popularity because it is very vibrant with excellent dialogue.  Greg is proud of the Incline Theater for producing the show. To quote Greg from the Director’s Notes in the playbill, “The play still maintains its power over the theater because of its dramatic and intriguing characters, the powerful use of language and storytelling and its mesmerizing display of theatrical spectacle.”  Caution:  the show strips the characters naked in a both a figurative and literal sense.  There is a moment of full frontal male nudity in the show which is crucial to the story telling.

The supporting cast at the Incline Theater includes Hannah Gregory (Jill), Rory Sheridan (Frank), Martha Slater (Dora), Kelsie Slaugh (Hester), Angie Alexander Nalley (nurse/customer), Jim Stumf (Dalton) and Peter Cutler (Nugget).  Since the play is so character driven, the acting is very challenging and requires considerable effort from the cast according to Procaccino,

Equus runs April 6th through 23rd and tickets can be ordered at http://cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com/Incline/Default.aspx.

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