Long Beach Playhouse Interviews EQUUS Director Robert Craig; Show to Run 9/7-10/5

Long Beach Playhouse Interviews EQUUS Director Robert Craig; Show to Run 9/7-10/5

Long Beach Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Andrew Vonderschmitt recently talked with director Robert Craig, about the play EQUUS, and his interpretation of the work for its upcoming production at The Playhouse, September 7 - October 5, 2013.

Andrew Vonderschmitt: Can you tell us a little about the play?

Robert Craig: Equus was written by Peter Shaffer and was first staged in 1973 by The National Theatre at The Old Vic Theatre in London, England.

Shaffer was inspired to write Equus when he heard of a crime involving a 17 year old who blinded six horses in a small town near Suffolk, England. He set out to construct a fictional account of what might have caused the incident without knowing any of the details of the crime.

AV: How did he manage to construct a story without knowing the details?

RC: The play takes on a sort of "who dunnit" tone, only in this case it's not "Who dunnit" it's the "Why he dunnit." Along with this detective story approach to the tale, Shaffer uses elements of Greek Theatre to explain to a modern audience how a 17 year old could create Gods out of horses.

AV: The horses play a central role in this play. You made some interesting decisions in how you approached the horses. Can you tell us a little about that?

RC: Traditionally the actors playing the horses are dressed in dark clothing covering them from head to foot, making them sort of androgynous characters on stage. To accentuate the sexuality inherent in the piece I have chosen to have the actors playing the horses dressed in a manner that celebrates the human form.

And I cast one female horse in order to prevent the attraction from being neither hetero nor homosexual in nature.

AV: I like that. Horses and sexuality gets us into fetish territory. Do you think that's what drives the teenager?

RC: I believe he is drawn to horses as Gods and whatever sexuality he feels toward them is just an expression of his intensity of feeling. It is not my intention here to promote either form of sexuality, but to focus on the play's intent and avoid any confusion that would distract from the play's message.

AV: What makes this a psychological drama rather than a discourse on sexual angst?

RC: Shaffer incorporated some Brechtian conventions in the structure of Equus. The most notable is the continual reminder that you are watching a play. By having the cast on stage as a "chorus" at all times during the show, the audience becomes even more deeply involved and invested in the outcome.

AV: Any final thoughts?

RC: My personal thanks to one of the most committed and talented casts I have ever worked with. And a heartfelt thanks to the designers and staff here at the Long Beach Playhouse for being so heavily invested in this production and providing the support we have needed to make it a success.

SPECIAL EVENTS FOR THIS PLAY:

Pay what you can Thursday September 5 - community can see this production for whatever they can afford
Two for One Preview Friday September 6 - Tickets are $12.00
Opening Night Champagne Reception with cast on September 7 - Tickets are $27.00

Adults are $24.00, seniors $21.00, and Students $14.00. Tickets are available at www.lbplayhouse.org, or by calling 562-494-1014, option 1.

Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, CA, 90804, right across from the Long Beach Recreation golf course. The Playhouse is community-supported theatre with programs and events that cut across age, gender, ethnic, and cultural boundaries. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The box office is openWednesday-Saturday from 3:00-8:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00-2:00 pm on scheduled matinees.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.lbplayhouse.org or call 562-494-1014.

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