WEEKEND: Performers to bring 'Equus' to Port Angeles stage
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Psychiatrist Richard Dysart (Ron Graham), kneeling at left, and magistrate Hesther Salomon (Lola Hassan-Adams), in suit at right, look on as Alan Strang (Tim Macausland) goes on his wild midnight ride on the horse called Nugget (Sean Peck-Collier) in “Equus,” opening tonight at Peninsula College.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — For years, actor Ron Graham has contemplated staging “Equus,” the Tony Award-winning play about a teenage boy, a psychiatrist and the demons they both meet.

And John Manno, a theater director also familiar with “Equus,” envisioned producing it too — from an angle different from what has been seen on stages around the country.

The two men's ideas are coming to fruition at last. With a cast and crew from the college and community, “Equus” will arrive today and run through Sunday on the Little Theater stage at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

The drama, written by Peter Shaffer, debuted in New York City in 1973 and was made into a movie starring Richard Burton four years later. In 2007, the Broadway revival starred Daniel Radcliffe of “Harry Potter” fame in the role of Alan Strang, the 17-year-old at the center of the story.

In the Port Angeles production, 19-year-old Tim Macausland, known for his leading role in last fall's “Freak Like Me” at Peninsula College, is finding his portrayal of Alan in “Equus” to be one fascinating trip.

Worship theme

“A big theme in the story is worship,” said Macausland, “and finding yourself,” through the worship of something.

“Equus” is also about mental illness and psychiatry. It takes a close look at what “normal” is, added Graham, who first appeared in this play 20 years ago in Los Angeles.

“To go back into it, to be reminded of all of these wonderful things, and discover new things,” Graham said, “has been an incredible experience.”

He portrays Dr. Dysart, the psychiatrist who works with Alan after the boy has brutally blinded several horses. As he investigates the crime, Dysart's demons rear up before him, and he must question his beliefs about his profession.

Great theater

This play may well rock the world of those who see it, Graham believes.

“Theater, at its best, makes us challenge ourselves and the way we look at life,” he said.

And “Equus,” Graham predicted, will give people a lot to think and talk about after they've departed the theater.

The veteran thespian praised his fellow actors, who are part of the Sequim-Port Angeles theater community.

“One thing that continues to amaze me is the quality of performers,” Graham said. “We have an amazing talent pool, and I don't think people realize that.”

Cast of characters

Among the actors are Lola Hassan-Adams, who portrays Hesther Saloman, the court magistrate who believes Dysart can help Alan come to terms with his acts; Amy Meyer as Jill Mason, the girl who is with Alan in the horses' stable; Zachary Luke King Moorman and Sharah Truett as Alan's parents, Frank and Dora Strang; and Sean Peck-Collier as Nugget, a horse.

Anna Unger, who appeared in “Freak Like Me” and “The 39 Steps” in Port Angeles and “Little Shop of Horrors” at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim, is the play's choreographer while Peck-Collier, also seen in “Horrors” and “39 Steps,” is chorus master. Neil Paynter composed the music for the two-hour production.

“Equus” contains some nudity and other adult situations, so theater-goers must be age 17 or older. The nudity is brief, so those who are coming for that will be “sorely disappointed,” joked Manno.

Not typical fare

Manno, also an actor and musician, directed Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialist drama “No Exit” last year at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse.

“Equus,” like “Exit,” is “not your standard community theater fare,” he said. “This is the stuff people pay big bucks to see in big cities. Here, it is in your hometown. If you like live theater, come see this. And if you're not sure you like live theater, this is something to see. It will be an experience.”

Curtain time for “Equus” is 7 p.m. today and Saturday and finally at 2 p.m. Sunday; tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and free for Peninsula College students. To purchase online, visit www.peninsulacollege.camp9.org. Tickets will be available at the door of the Little Theater. For information on this and other public events on campus, see www.pencol.edu or Peninsula College's page on Facebook.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 28. 2013 4:53PM
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