Tuesday, March 06, 2007

People who may be offended by Equus

Well, as I said before, I went to see Equus. I throughly enjoyed it, and I’d highly recommend it to everyone. Hmn, well, maybe not quite everyone. So, as a public service, here is my list of…

People who may be offended by Equus

  • Animal lovers. "In London, Equus caused a sensation because it displayed cruelty to horses; in New York, because it allegedly displayed cruelty to psychiatrists." Peter Shaffer (Playwright)
  • Anti-psychiatrists. The R.D.Laing over-simplifiers who are offended by the way the boy is 'cured' of his unique personal experience of life.
  • Anti anti-psychiatrists. Those who dislike the previous lot and are offended at their view being represented at all, even if the boy is 'cured'.
  • Anti-smoking campaigners. No chance to be offended by anything else, as they walk out in disgust after the first minute.
  • Atheists. Offended that the Atheist father is being blamed.
  • Christians. Offended that the Christian mother is being blamed.
  • Harry Potter fans. Offended at ‘Harry’s’ behaviour.
  • Harry Potter fan haters. Offended by the presence of all those teenage girls who never usually go to the theatre at all.
  • Harry Potter haters. Offended at ‘Harry’ appearing in a serious play.
  • Heterosexuals. Offended by the presence of all those gays who never usually go to the theatre at all.
  • Homosexuals. Offended that the boy's attraction to those nice men in tight trousers playing the horses is seen as deviance in need of cure.
  • Horse fetishists. Who feel really got at by the whole thing.
  • Normal people. Offended by the psychiatrist's rants against the mediocrity of normality.
  • Pagans. Offended by the psychiatrist's rants against himself.
  • Psychiatrists. See: Animal lovers and Pagans.
  • Prudes. So offended by the constant harping on about sex, the men in tight trousers, the swearing, the smoking, and the violence that they drop their opera-glasses at the vital moment and miss their chance to be offended by the nudity.
  • Puritans. See: Scottish lady dentist puritans
  • Scottish lady dentist puritans. A minority group viciously attacked without so much as a two-line character with which to defend themselves.
  • Socialists. Offended by being called 'old type'. In a 1970's play, no less.
  • The easily offended. Probably offended by this list.

Something remarkable about Equus

I went to see Equus. I thought I’d mention it here as this is a writing blog, even if not much writing is going on here at the moment.

Something struck me about the writing of the play: there’s a thing it does so well that you hardly notice it. It handles the different time sequences that are going on within it effortlessly and elegantly. The psychiatrist’s present time musings are layered in with his memories of conversations with the boy and his parents and other characters. The boy also introduces some of his own earlier memories within these conversations. All this happens in a perfectly natural flow of words, with never the slightest doubt about what point in time someone is speaking from, even when they overlap within the same scene. At times characters in different time layers seem almost to be responding to each other, but it never gets confusing. It’s quite remarkable, so I thought I’d remark on it.