Equus by Peter Shaffer
Directed Alby Michaels
UJ Con Cowan Theatre (Bunting Road Campus)
Book at Computicket
The UJ Arts & Culture production of Peter Shaffer’s iconic play “Equus” forms part of a season of classic plays.
“Equus” is a timeless cornerstone of contemporary drama which delves into the darkest recesses of human existence through the mind of 17 year-old Alan Strang. Alby Michaels takes the reigns as director with designs by Angela Nemov and lighting by Sizwe Moloko.
According to UJ Arts & Culture Performing Arts Manager, Grace Meadows, programming a season is art rather than science. “It really is a combination of dreaming, divining, figuring out where the industry is at, what audiences want to see and then going with your gut,” she says and adds that “Equus” premiered in the UK forty years ago in 1973, which makes this an anniversary production of sorts. “It has been many years since a full-scale production of this classic masterpiece has been presented in Johannesburg, so this feels like the perfect moment in time for a South African revival,” she explains.
Meadows and Michaels have assembled a formidable company of professional, emerging and student actors for the UJ production of the play: in the central role of the disturbed youth, whose dangerous obsession with horses leads him to commit an unspeakable act of violence, is Jeremy Richard. Anton Dekker has been cast as psychiatrist Martin Dysart who struggles to understand the motivation for Alan’s brutality. Dysart’s magistrate friend, Hesther Salomon, who convinces him that the boy has something special, is played Isadora Verwey who doubles up as Alan’s devout Christian mother, Dora. His atheist father, Frank, will be performed by Jonathan Taylor who also doubles up as stable–owner, Harry Dalton. Lizelle de Klerk plays Jill Mason who works at the Dalton stable where Alan’s worship of his god Equus, personified in the horse Nugget (played by Pieter Rossouw) reaches its tragic climax. The cast is completed with an ensemble of UJ students from various faculties, and choreographed by Zak Hendrikz, play the horses as well as other minor roles.
Other productions in UJ Arts & Culture’s season of classics are: “Romeo ’n’ Juliet Unplugged” by Robin Malan, “Desdemona” a dance deconstruction of Shakespeare’s “Othello” choreographed by Owen Lonzar and “I think it’s Hamlet” presented by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative and choreographed by PJ Sabbagha.
“Equus” runs in the UJ Con Cowan Theatre on the Bunting Road Campus from 16 to 27 April 2013. Book at Computicket. For group bookings and discounts e-mail email@example.com
or call 011 559 3058.
Notes to Editors
ALBY MICHAELS graduated from the University of Pretoria 1998 and made his professional debut that same year in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince”. Highlights as a performer include Vonke Uit die Vuurklip (in which his portrayal of Stefanus earned him a Vita award nomination in 1999), Amy’s View (1999), Jo’burg Zoo Storie (2000), Macbeth (2000), Skilpoppe (2001) , Vlerkdans (2001), Oliver Twist (2002) and Equus (2011). He made his television debut as Eugene in Die Netwerk. Other small-screen credits include Jozi Streets (2004), Binnelanders (2005), 7de Laan (2006) as well as Luke Taylor in One Way (2006/2007). He is currently shooting Inkaba playing the coked-up designer Allan Duncan. His portfolio reflects a range of diverse projects but directing is his passion. He has directed Jozi (2002), You Can’t Keep a Good Love Down (2003), SING (2008/2010), Lizz Meiring in Vrou in die Maan for (2009), Youth Oratorio (2009), Rocco De Villiers in It Takes Two (2009) and Eloise Clasen in the acclaimed production [K]not (2011). He also directed the ground-breaking hit The Crucible (2011) which was nominated for three Naledi Awards including Best Produced Play and Best Director. He joined UJ Arts & Culture in 2004 where highlights as a director include Metamorphoses (2006), Our Town (2007), Cabaret (2007), Jozi Ma Sweetie!(2009), the Reading Gay Festival of Staged Readings (2011), K Sello Duiker’s The Quiet Violence of Dreams (2012), THATSOGAY Theatre Festival (2012) and Dalliances by Pieter Jacobs (2012).
ANGELA NEMOV specialises in set, space and costume design for the theatre and other live performance art, but her creative experience spans a variety of media. After six years in the industry, the scope of her work includes: set & costume design in the theatre; space design for events and other productions; production design for feature films; art direction for short films and music videos; event design & décor; interior decorating; styling and grooming for individuals, corporates & musicians. In a more personal capacity, as a visual artist, Angela concentrates on found object & installation art. Angela's achievements to date include graduating with distinction from the University of Cape Town (2005) with an MA in Theatre Making. She also has a BA in Theatre and Performance from the University of Cape Town (2002). She was nominated for a Fleur du Cap award for best theatre design for 'Antigone' directed by Sean Matthias, starring John Kani. In 2008 she won the Hilton Edwards Award for Outstanding Achievement in Direction & Design, a joint award with director Matthew Wild, for Dalliances at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. She also art-directed Freshly Ground's Pot Belly music video which was nominated for and won numerous awards in South Africa and Nigeria(2008). Angela was invited to attend the Berlinale Talent Campus in Berlin 2008, on the strength of the design of this video. Angela was the designer for the show that won best production at the Aardklop festival, Spyt directed by Brink Scholtz (2010). More recently she has designed the much talked about Freshlyground video, Chicken to Change, directed by Thierry Cassato. Angela is currently designing the set & costumes for Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors for Maynardville Season 2012 directed by Matthew Wild. And in other work Angela is channelling most of her creative energy into conceptual interior design, with a sustainable slant. It is her mission to build spaces that are also live-in artworks.