A review on Pakistani Psychological Drama theatre play, Equus (2017). It was performed at NAPA.
- Directed, Costumes Design & Set Design by Sunil Shanker
- Written (Adaptation) by Sunil Shanker and Nazar ul Hasan
- Asst. Directed by Zaman and Mazhar
- Sound Mixing by Bhatti sb
- Lighting by Masood ur Rehman
+ Horses Performers
Equus is a play originally written by Peter Shaffer in 1973. He was inspired to write ‘Equus’ when he heard of a crime involving a 17-year-old who blinded six horses in a small town near Suffolk.
There is an English film ‘Equus’ (1977) starring Richard Burton as Martin and Peter Firth as Alan. Shaffer’s play, Equus won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle that year as well. His screenplay adaptation of the play was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 1977.
I am pleased to see that there was an age restriction to watch this play. Good management. The music is originally composed by Natasha Humera Ejaz.
Previously Sunil Shankar conducted ‘Equus’ play in 2012 while receiving overwhelming success. The praises were such as “An Equestrian Journey” – Dawn News and “Saving the Best for the Last” – Express Tribune.
+ Full Cast
- Nazar ul Hasan as Martin Dysart
- Ali Hasan Junejo as Alan
- Saad Zameer Fareedi as Dalton & Frank
- Meher Jaffri as Hesther
- Natasha Humera Ejaz as Jill Mason
- Shama Askari as Dora
- Asiya Alam as Nurse
- Kashif Hussain as Nugget
A psychiatrist attempts to treat a young man who has a pathological religious fascination with horses.
+ High Points
i – Genius level direction by Sunil Shanker. This play could not be pulled off so brilliantly by anyone as he did. Bravo!
ii – The horses performances, standing or posing in a statue fashion for a 3 hour play, the agility and different movements, noises that they made were all spectacularly been done.
iii – Superb handling of Lighting. It helped with the different moods of the play very effective to watch.
iv – Propounding an amazing performance by Ali Hasan Junejo as Alan. This was one of the two difficult characters to be played which Ali proved everyone that he is the one for it. Although most of the cast were new faces for me but I am glad to see that he played the lead part very well indeed.
v – To perform realistically, for Natasha Ejaz the task was like ‘A Walk in the Park’. I was stunned to see such a beautiful, bold performance by her. This is also her first performance that I have watched.
vi – Nazar ul Hasan as Martin Dysart performed very convincingly, really made us believe that he was an actual psychiatrist and not a great artist. Other Honorable Mentions: Saad Zameer Fareedi.
vii – The costumes design, especially of the horses are ‘A’ graded quality.
viii – The music is wonderfully composed, bought the audience closer to the play’s intense scenes.
ix – The designing of the set was well executed for three major scenarios… the psychiatrist’s room, the main deck and the patient’s room.
x – Avoided vulgarity, nudity or obscene acts in terms of sexual and language.
+ Low Points
i –Though Sunil Shanker have been able to pull this off in the most sensational manner yet, I believe that the 3 hours for a drama play is too long for the audience to bear and watch it till the end. Most people may not have the patience to sit it through till the second half regardless how much interesting the play is. For me, it was like watching LOTRS on DVD with an ‘Extended Version’.
ii – The first half was a bit mixture of impressive yet somewhat bore at the same time. It was difficult to concentrate on the play by having explicit conversations regarding the boy’s heath, mental issues and his secrecy love and bizarre religious beliefs involving horses. It may perhaps be possible to reduce at least 20 – 30 minutes of it.
iii – It was hard to tell the difference of the time and date in the play since the getup (most / all the time) remained the same in every scene.
iv – Ali Junejo didn’t really look like 17 yr old but only his performance was.
Equus is not only visually striking and narrative sustaining, but also its story deepens down to the root cause has left the audience highly impressive whereas it is truly a great achievement in the world of theatre.
Rate: 4.50 out of 5