Peter Shaffer's EQUUS to Make Theatre Rhinoceros Debut This Fall

EQUUS by Peter Shaffer will have its Theatre Rhinoceros premiere for a limited engagement - 17 performances only - 3 weeks! The show plays Nov. 25 - Dec. 10, 2016. Opening Night: Sun. Nov. 27, 2016 - 7:00 pm (reception to follow).

Performances run Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri. & Sat. - 8:00 pm / Sat. Matinees - 3:00 pm. Previews (4): Fri. Nov. 25 - 8:00 pm; Sat., Nov. 26 - 3:00 pm, Sat., Nov. 26 - 8:00 pm, Sun. Nov. 27 - 3:00 pm. Special Added shows: Sun. Nov. 27, 2016 - 2:00 and 7:00 pm

Shows play at Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., (at Battery St.) SF, CA 94111 - Embarcadero BART.

Tickets are $15 - $40 and are available at or
1-800-838-3006. (All Previews are pay-what-you-wish at the door.)

EQUUS features Bay Area actors: John Fisher (Director; Dysart)*, Rudy Guerrero (Nugget/Mr. Strang/Horseman/Dalton)*, Iris Haas-Biel (Jill; Assistant Director), Morgan Lange (Alan Strang), Ann Lawler (Hesther/Mrs. Strang/Nurse). (*Member Actors Equity Association).

Tech Credits: Jenna Apollonia (Stage Manager), Lawrence Helman (Publicist), Gilbert Johnson
(Scenic Designer), Sean Keehan (Lighting Designer), Daisy Neske (Costume Designer), David Wilson (Graphics; Photography; Ads). EQUUS is directed by John Fisher.

EQUUS is a Tony Award-winning explosive play about suppressed sexuality that took critics and audiences by storm. A timeless classic and a cornerstone of modern drama that delves into the darkest recesses of human existence.

DR. Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist, is confronted with Alan Strang, a boy who has blinded six horses in a violent fit of passion. This very passion is as foreign to Dysart as the act itself. To the boy's parents it is a hideous mystery; Alan has always adored horses. To Dysart it is a psychological puzzle that leads both doctor and patient to a complex and disturbingly dramatic confrontation. This international success reached new acclaim in London (2007) and on Broadway (2008) when revived starring Daniel Radcliffe.


Peter Levin Shaffer (born 1926) became one of England's most popular and respected playwrights; his work was equally successful in the United States, where he chose to live. Born May 15, 1926, Peter Shaffer worked as a conscript in the coal mines in England from 1944 to 1947; that is, during the last year of World War II and the immediate postwar period. He graduated from Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1950. The following year he joined with his fraternal twin, Anthony, to publish the first of three mystery novels, Woman in the Wardrobe, under the joint pseudonym of Peter Anthony. He and Anthony, later best known as the author of the play Sleuth, repeated their success with How Doth the Little Crocodile in 1952 and Withered Murder in 1955.

In 1951 his first radio play, The Prodigal Father, was presented on the BBC and his initial venture into TV drama, The Salt Land, appeared on ITV. It was followed in 1957 by Balance of Terror on BBC-TV. (In 1989, he returned to radio with the dramatic monologue Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing? on BBC.) During these years Shaffer worked at the NY Public Library (1951-1954) and for the music publisher Bosey & Hawkes (1954-1955) and served as a literary critic for Truth (1956-1957).

In 1958 Shaffer had his first great theatrical success with Five Finger Exercise, which opened in London, enjoyed a two-year run, and won the Evening Standard Drama Award. It was produced in NY the following year and received the NY Drama Critics Circle Award in 1960. A conventional realistic drama about what has come to be called a dysfunctional family, it surely contains autobiographical elements in the character of the 19-year-old Clive, torn between his unimaginative businessman father and his doting, overindulgent mother.

There followed a number of short plays of varying success: the double bill of The Private Ear and The Public Eye opened in London in 1962 and in New York a year later; The Merry Roosters Panto (1963); Black Comedy, written to accompany Miss Julie with Maggie Smith and Albert Finney, premiered at Chichester in 1965. It was produced in NY in 1966, accompanied by a companion piece written especially for the American production, titlEd White Lies. While Black Comedy was received with wild enthusiasm, White Lies was not, prompting Shaffer to rework it twice; the subsequent effort was titled The White Liars and White Liars. The revisions, however, were no better received than the original; when the double bill was revived by off-Broadway's Roundabout Theater in 1993, the consensus of critics and viewers was that White Liars had to be endured in order to get to Black Comedy.

Shaffer had begun writing screenplays in 1963, collaborating with Peter Brook on Lord of the Flies, and added The Pad (and How to Use It), based on The Private Ear, in 1966; Follow Me! in 1971; and The Public Eye in 1972. His next great stage success occurred with The Royal Hunt of the Sun, which opened at Chichester in 1964, was moved to London, and appeared in NY in 1965. Shaffer was delighted with the work, writing, "I do not think that I ever enjoyed doing anything so much ...," and generally the critics were equally pleased.

In 1970 Shaffer's most American play, The Battle of Shrivings, opened in London. The designation was his and he explained that he associated it most strongly with sojourns in NYC in 1968 & 1969 "when he became obsessed by the fever of that time." But the story of a community of pacifists, protesters, and vegetarians led by Sir Gideon Petrie, a combination of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Daniel Berrigan, and Abbie Hoffman, had no success with either the critics or the public, and plans to take it to NY were dropped. Shaffer rewrote it and retitled it Shrivings, but it was kept alive in the printed version only.

Shaffer had a resounding hit with Equus in 1974, which ran for over 1,000 performances in London. But if the British liked it, the Americans were ecstatic over the story of a young man who is put into the hands of a psychiatrist after blinding six horses. In his splendid introduction to his collected plays (1982), the playwright tells of the true story that prompted the work and shows how he adapted it to achieve greater universality. In Manhattan in 1975 it won the TONY Award, the NY Drama Critics Circle Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. In 1977 it was made into a film and Shaffer wrote the script.

Even more successful was the 1979 drama Amadeus, about the relationship between the genius Mozart and the near-great Salieri, who, according to one not widely credited tradition, had murdered his young rival, driven by jealousy. Like Equus this work ran for over 1,000 performances in London; it won the Evening Standard Drama Award for 1979 and the TONY Award in NY. Made into a film, with Shaffer doing the screenplay, it won an Oscar for best film in 1984.

In 1985 came Yonadab, based on a story of incest in the Old Testament book of Samuel but prompted by Dan Jacobson's novel The Rape of Tomar, which had attracted Shaffer since its publication. It remained in the repertory of the National Theater in London. Lettice and Lovage, written as a gift for Maggie Smith, opened in 1987 and ran for 3 years in London, with a shorter run in NY. A frankly commercial comedy, it was labeled "original" by both the Times and the Daily Telegraph in London; while on this side of the Atlantic Henry Popkin in Theater Week judged it "surely the most effective laugh-machine that Broadway has seen in many years." In The Gift of the Gorgon (1992), Shaffer considers the quest for identity, creativity, and the boundary between justice and revenge in a flashy vehicle drawn from Greek mythology. As usual, critics were divided and audience response was far more uniformly enthusiastic.

Shaffer received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater in 1992. He was appointed Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 1994. Shaffer died on 6 June 2016 at the age of 90.

John Fisher (Dysart/Director) is a playwright, director, and actor. Recent play writing credits include his play Shakespeare Goes to War (nominated for six 2016 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards) and To Sleep and Dream (2014 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award Winner for Best Script) as well as his direction of and acting in the Theatre Bay Area Award-winning production of Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art and the TBA Recommended Production of Breaking the Code (nominated for five 2016 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards). John also acted in both Shakespeare Goes to War and Breaking the Code and was nominated as Best Leading Actor of 2016 for both performances. In the 2014-15 season John directed the West Coast Premiere of David Mamet's The Anarchist.

Theatre Rhinoceros - founded in 1977 is the longest running LGBT theatre in the nation.
We develop and produce works of theatre that enlighten, enrich, and explore both the ordinary and the extraordinary aspects of our queer community. Our emphasis is on new works, works about under-represented members of the larger queer community, and revivals of lesser known queer classics. Over the years Theatre Rhinoceros has received many awards of recognition including: Theatre Rhinoceros Day in the City Proclamation from Mayor Gavin Newsome, State Assembly Certificate of Recognition from Senator Mark Leno, recognitions from Congressperson Nancy Pelosi and Assembly Persons Tom Ammiano and Carole Migden, numerous Cable Car, BATCC and TBA Awards and Nominations, and the GLAAD Media Award for Best LGBT Theatre.

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