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Martin Dysart child psychiatrist is on a quest to discover why a confused passionate 17 year old boy named Alan has savagely blinded six horses with a spike The discovery of this forms Peter Shaffers brutal play Equus Equus meaning horse in Latin was performed by State Theatre of South Australia and directed by Marion Potts Although written in the 1970s many of the issues raised are highly relevant to todays audience The emotional impact of the play remains intact and continues to intrigue and mystify its audiences as powerfully as it did in the mid-seventies if not more so Alan Strang played by Damon Gameau is the only son of an opinionated but inwardly-timid father Bob Baines and a genteel religious mother Vanessa Downing He has been sent to a psychiatric hospital by Hesther Salomon Kate Roberts after blinding six horses with a metal spike Hesther convinces Dr Dysart to take Alan as a patient and cure him so that he may return to society as a well-adjusted and normal individual Dysart begins to normalize Alan all the while feeling that though he makes the boy safe for society he is taking away from him his worship and sexual vitality- both of which are missing in the doctors own personal life We slowly discover Mr Dysart actually envies Alan the sexual worship he has experienced As Dysart exposes the truths behind the boys demons he finds himself face-to-face with his own The play is centered around symbolic use of masks and staging The set sound costumes and solid performances of the actors all contributed in making the performance a stimulating one but also one that provoked the audience to explore and examine issues such as obsession mental illness religion and sexuality The superb cast contributed a great deal to the performance in particular the exceptional performance of one of the main characters Martin Dysart Martin Jacobs as Dr Dysart wonderfully portrayed the
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