Equus Stampedes into Kasser Theatre

This weekend, the Department of Theatre and Dance is presenting Equus, the play created by Peter Shaffer involving the story of a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a teenager who has a religious obsession with horses, who has also blinded six horses in a stable.

On-stage seating is available during the production of Equus at Kasser Theatre.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Baxter.

Equus is welcomed with open arms.

Kasser Theatre on the campus of Montclair State University is known for putting on plays, musicals and many other types of shows. Frequently, shows from Montclair State’s Department of Theatre and Dance are performed here, with other outside performers coming in as well.

The Equus show began on Wed., March 6 and will run until Sat., March 9 in Kasser Theatre. The play runs for two-and-a-half hours, including a brief 15 minute intermission.

The psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, is played by Sean Haberle. Haberle obtained a BFA from Boston University, as well as a master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama. He has been involved in multiple dramas, including Jane Eyre, Macbeth and Hamlet.

Haberle flawlessly portrayed the psychologist, a man who has been in his practice many years, curing multiple children of whatever psychological issues they may have. The psychiatrist takes on this boy, Alan Strang, trying to determine why the boy blinded the horses. Haberle presented numerous strong soliloquies, captivating the audience and speaking of the hardships he has come to face after seeing so many tortured children, and having a nearly ruined relationship with his wife.

Also stealing the show was Tayler Yarish, a sophomore BFA acting major from Montclair State, who played Alan Strang. Yarish played this tortured youth perfectly, commanding the stage presence. As Alan Strang, Yarish presented a series of rants and explanations to his psychiatrist in an attempt to relay how truly tortured he is. Having a religious and somewhat sexual obsession with horses, Yarish did an excellent job in portraying this tortured soul who is just looking for someone to understand and assist him.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Equus play was how they portrayed the horses. The horses were played by Lorenzo Villanueva, Alejandro Hernandez, Peter Surace, Esteban Emilio Carmona and Matthew Petrucelli, all students of Montclair State.

However, these ensemble members did not wear normal costumes. Instead, they were dressed in all-brown. On the bottoms of their shoes were long metal sticks, extending nearly a foot long before attaching to a horse-shoe, allowing them to stomp and sound as if actual horses were on stage. To represent the horses’ heads, the actors wore large, metal mask-like items in the shape of a horse’s head. These costumes were quite an interesting way to portray a horse, making the play extremely unique, while watching the actors twitch and move their bodies as if they were real horses.

Tony Antoniou played the one of the “lead” horses Nugget, the main horse that Alan Strang had a relationship with in many scenes. Alongside Yarish, Harberle and the ensemble were an amazing cast and crew, almost all of which consisted of students from Montclair State.

The Equus show will be performed at Kasser Theatre on Fri., March 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sat., March 9 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 a seat, or free for any Montclair State student with valid identification. On-stage seating is also available for a limited number of audience members.

Equus tickets can be purchased at the box office in front of Kasser Theatre or online. For more information on the show or to purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.peakperfs.org/performances/Equus

Parking is available in the Red Hawk Deck, located directly next to the Kasser Theatre, for a small fee. The parking deck connects to the theatre, and can be navigated by a closed-in walkway, so weather is not an issue.

Equus is only available for a short amount of time, and all are strongly encouraged to see this play. It is an excellent example of strong acting at its finest. Other upcoming shows are also listed on the Peak Performances website, listed above.

Disclaimer: This show contains scenes of nudity.

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