Adelaide’s Adapt Enterprises will perform Peter Shaffer’s 1973 provocative Tony Award-winning play Equus this November at the Bakehouse Theatre, with Director and Producer Ross Vosvotekas helming the production.
Equus, recipient of a 1975 Tony Award for Best Play, carries the themes of religious fervour, sexuality and societal pressures of what it means to be “normal.”
“[It] is a mature exploration about family, worship and mental health,” explains Vosvotekas. “Above all it explores whether our passions are destructive or not, which everyone can in some way relate to.”
Equus tells the story of 17-year-old Alan Strang, played by Ben Gatehouse in his first Adapt production. Following an inexplicable act of violence Strang is sent to see child psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart, in a role the multi-talented Ross Vosvotekas has “been meaning to tackle for years.”
As the disillusioned Dysart peels back the layers enshrouding the mixed mind of his patient, uncovering the motivations and repressions which led to the crime, he becomes increasingly doubtful of his ability to save the troubled youth, and what it would mean for him to do so.
The play was one of Shaffer’s best received works, running for over 1000 perfomances on Broadway. In more recent years, it saw a revival when Daniel Radcliffle, of Harry Potter notoriety, played Strang on Broadway in 2007.
Vosvotekas, who says he “has been fascinated by Equus since [his] studies,” has chosen not to dramatically alter the 40 year old story.
“I’ve tried to remain true to the script and pay homage to the playwright Peter Shaffer, who coincidentally passed away earlier this year”.
The actors and crew enlisted in the telling of Equus see a generous mix of upcoming and established players on the local theatre scene. Leading man Gatehouse stars in his first Adapt production alongside returning players Petra Taylor, most recently in Adapt’s King Johnny and Lysistrata, plus Olivia Fairweather, also of Lysistrata and Urban Myth’s Romeo & Juliet.
Of the multi-talented team behind Adapt’s Equus, Vosvotekas says “I wouldn’t be able to stage this complex production without the expertise of all these talented, amazing and dedicated people.”
Equus will take up residency on the Bakehouse Theatre’s intimate stage, home to three of Adapt’s past productions, most recent of which was The Perfectionist in 2015.
Vosvotekas describes the thriller as “probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do, artistic or otherwise.”
“It’s been a six-month process for the actors, crew and myself. I hope audiences recognise and appreciate this and that the performance resonates with them… I also hope that they’re challenged by this intense theatrical experience.”
Thursday, November 10 until Saturday, November 26