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A View from the Couch: Equus, A Must See

A "non" review of the play "Equus" showing at the Waddell theater for the next two weekends.

Please run, don't walk, over to the Taking Flight Theater Company's production of Equus at the Waddell Theater on NOVA's Loudoun Campus.  It is playing Nov. 9,10,11,16 and 17.  The show is produced by Coleen Stock  and directed by the extremely talented Haley Murphy.

I speak of it over here on "A View from the Couch" because it is all about the view from the couch.  The story is about a psychiatrist and his very disturbed patient who is pathologically obsessed with horses. The play takes place mostly in the therapy sessions with vivid flashbacks that retell the story.

I am not writing a formal review because that is not what I do.  I  have not been trained in any writing or critique of that sort.   I did, though, enjoy and appreciate the play and the characters as they were shown in the psychiatric realm.  

Bryan Maas, who played the part of patient, was magnificent. His definition of mental illness was exact; his mannerisms, affect and even his eyes perfectly portrayed an extremely disturbed individual.  I was discussing his acting with another therapist also at the play last night.  We both agreed that he was excellent in his pathology, perhaps a little too good.

Tel Monks, played the psychiatrist and he was truly was wonderful. So were the patient's parents played by Sally Cusenza and David Segal.  It was remarkable to see how the parents' experience was so true to life.  The mother was angry and upset and questioning her job as a parent; she insisted that she was not culpable for her son's pathology. I can not tell you how many times I have worked with parents in my office struggling with these same demons.  Is it my fault? Is it genetics? Is it a combination?  It is heart-wrenching to witness a parent watch his child slip into the dark and terrifying world of mental illness.

I must also put in a huge kudos for the horses.  There were six actors playing horses all choreographed by Heide Zufall.  Their movement and dance was phenomenal. They seemed so real that I could envision an actual horse via their acting.  As for a horse on my couch, I am not so sure, but after what these four legged friends experienced in the play, they certainly could benefit from a session or two on someone's couch.

There is one other teeny tiny bit that I musn't forget to share.  The play includes nudity.  Full on nudity of one male and one female.  It is not for a young audience or the particularly squeamish.  I will say that this element of the show was fascinating and pushed the viewer to another level as the drawers were, literally, dropped.

If you have seen the play or do go to see Equus, please let me know your thoughts. I am very curious to hear what others have to say.

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David Segal November 05, 2012 at 03:08 PM
thank you Laurie for coming to see our play. It is such a demanding and wonderful script, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to perform it. We all owe so much to Haley for her vision and fortitude! Thanks again for writing about us!
Laurie Levine November 05, 2012 at 03:44 PM
David- You were AWESOME!!!
Laurie Dodd November 05, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I read this play in high school and found it very meaningful. It is written by Peter Schaffer, who also wrote "Amadeus." The play gained prominence recently as one of the first productions Daniel Radcliffe took on after playing Harry Potter. Thanks for letting me know that there is a worthy local production!

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