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Preview: Equus at The Rialto

Posted by Christine / March 31, 2011

20110331-paulvd.jpg Village Scene Productions presents Equus, written by Peter Shaffer, directed by Paul Van Dyck and produced by Davyn Ryall. This compelling modern classic, celebrated for its emotionally raw stage performances, will be running at the Rialto Theatre (5723 Parc Av.) from April 13th to the 24th.

Equus tells the tale of psychiatrist Martin Dysart, who attempts to understand the mystery that leads 17-year-old Alan Strang to deliberately blind six horses.

"It's not a traditional mystery in the sense of who committed the crime, but instead, it is a question of the why," said Paul. "The play gets inside the boy's mind, and the audience may even end up empathizing with him."

The legitimacy of passion in relation to moral justification is explored through Martin and Alan's discourse. Alongside the young protagonist's gripping religious, sexual and violent narrative, unfolds a certain sense of human solidarity brought about through honest self-exploration and communication. The notion that people are not so different from one another thus reveals itself between psychiatrist and patient, between actors and audience.

"I hope the audience comes away from the performance with a unique sense of solace," said Paul.

Ultimately, Equus argues that no single act, no matter how horrific, can be wholly judged in objective binary opposition, such as good and evil or right and wrong. It supports this assertion by expounding upon and challenging societal mores, expectations and institutions.

"Normal is a smile in a child's eyes. It is also the dead stare in a million adults. It both sustains and kills, like a god," claims Martin Dysart.

Though the pair had some familiarity beforehand, Equus will mark the first production that Paul Van Dyck and Davyn Ryall have collaborated on.

Davyn first approached Paul via email, cryptically stating that he'd like to convene in person to discuss an idea he had.

"We met at a diner and he gave me these sugar cubes with letters written on them," said Paul. "I had to put them together to make a word, and they spelt Equus. That's when he asked me if I'd like to direct."

The decision was an easy one for Paul to make, as he was excited at the prospect of working with esteemed producer Davyn and directing such a massive cast. He was also eager to present his interpretation of Peter Shaffer's work, what he deemed "a flawless script," worthy of its title as a modern classic.

Equus stars Noel Burton as psychitrist Martin Dysart and Bobby Lamont as Alan Strang.

Choreographer, Jacqueline Van de Geer, brings the chorus of horses to life with dramatic movement.

"When (the movement ensemble) gets together and performs, it's just magical," said Paul, who is also the Artistic Director of Rabbit in a Hat Productions.

Please note that this play is for mature audiences only and contains coarse language, adult content and nudity.

During its running, Equus' start times will be as follows:

Tuesdays to Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday April 24th at 8:00 p.m.
Matinees Sundays at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for regular entry and $24 for students and seniors.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or at La Vitrine (145 St. Catherine W.), Priape (1311 St. Catherine E.) and EM Cafe (5718 Parc Av.)

Official press image of Paul Van Dyck



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