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Friday, April 8, 2011

Advance: Equus

Lamont with horses from Equus (photo: Village Scene)

It Ain't Harry Potter Nekkid
by Richard Burnett (from Hour, with permission)

Most folks know the play Equus because it starred that kid from Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, stripping buck naked onstage in both London’s West End and on Broadway. All in the name of art, of course, for Playwright Peter Shaffer’s famed 1973 play, which tells the psychodrama (inspired by a real-life incident) of psychiatrist Martin Dysart uncovering why 17-year-old Alan Strang – sexually obsessed with horses – deliberately blinds six horses.
Strang is portrayed in the Montreal production by local actor Bobby Lamont, who doesn’t have a problem stripping for the stage. “To be honest, I haven’t spent any time worrying about how my own particular naked body will look in the context of our production of Equus,” says the handsome Lamont. “I don’t think any amount of worry would help to make the performances any more real for our audiences. It is not my body that is the story, after all, either. And it would be vain of me to attribute it much importance by worrying about it. My concern is entirely with making sure I give every ounce of my energy to inhabiting the heart and mind of a beautiful and tragic character.”

Director Paul Van Dyke – who stripped naked onstage  last in Mid-Life Crisis of Dionysus at Mainline Theatre, wearing nothing but a bunch of grapes on his crotch), says, “Everybody knows Harry Potter stripped in this play but Bobby is very committed to the role. The nudity is just part of the story and not in any way gratuitous like when I wore grapes in Dionysus!”
Van Dyke also says this production also overcomes the looming dimensions of Montreal’s cavernous Rialto Theatre which its new owner, Ezio Carosielli, is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on to refurbish.
“For too long the theatre lay dormant and unused,” Carosielli says. “We fully intend to reanimate and revitalize it. We see The Rialto as a center for the performing arts: open and inclusive, multilingual and multicultural, grounded in the present yet not afraid to wink at the past.”

At the Rialto Theatre from April 13-24

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