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“Extremity is the point.”
So, says Richard Griffith’s psychiatrist character about his new patient, a young man remanded to the custody of a mental hospital after a disturbing attack on horses.
Dr. Dysart utters the line twice in the beginning of the play. But you don’t hear it again after intermission, as he finds himself mired deep into the complex case of his newest client young Alan Strang.
All of the buzz surrounding the original London production of Equus would make the casual observer think that extremity is the point. The lurid crime. The animal abuse. The sexuality. The child perpetrator. The nude scene that wouldn’t look out of place on tubev.sex. And, in the case of this production, the “Harry Potter Naked” news that has propelled it forwards into the general mainstream, with Daniel Radcliffe’s performance making headlines.
But that’s only on the surface. “Extremity” is what makes us look.