Directed by : Domy Reiter-Soffer
Equus, by Peter Shaffer
Equus is the story of 17-year-old Alan Strang who, after blinding five horses in the stables where he works, is referred to psychiatric treatment in lieu of prison time. His psychiatrist is Martin Dysart, a married man in mid-life who is beginning to question the true worth of bringing children back from madness. Through his attempt to understand the motivations for Alan’s seemingly senseless crime, Dysart explores the realms of sex, passion, religion and modern psychiatry.
*Please note:Contains mature subject matter and nudity.
Watch the latest Behind the scenes video with Domy Reiter-Soffer:
Director & Choreographer
Domy Reiter-Soffer has been described by The New York Times as a “modern renaissance man” – having worked as a director, choreographer, graphic artist, actor, stage designer and teacher.
He has directed theatre, opera, musicals, dance and multimedia productions in four continents and in Israël, his native land.
His production of Mary Makebelieve for the Abbey theatre was nominated for Best Play at the Dublin Theatre Festival and Lady of the Camelias was voted the Best Production at the Finland Festival. Paradise Gained – a multimedia production based on the life of the French woman of letters Colette – received a special award for the Best Creation (1991). The multimedia production for the commemoration of the 2nd World War and the Holocaust, A Time to Remember for the Louisville orchestra and the city Ecumenical association featured over 300 performers and received critical acclaim.
Most recent works include Yerma (La Scala Milan), House of Bernarda Alba, TimeTrip Orpheus, Medea and Oscar, based on the life of Oscar Wilde for the Irish National.
His production of Equus for the Dance Theatre of Harlem at The Metropolitan Opera House (N.Y.) was named Best Ballet of the Year by the New York Daily News. He was Artistic Advisor of the Irish National and filled the same position for the Bat Dor Dance Company for 15 years. He has also written monologues and other material for theatre and television and acted as advisor on the feature film Restoration. Domy is a serious painter, having had over 22 one-man shows. His paintings have been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art’s summer exhibition in London. His works are also in the collections of various museums throughout the world.
Check out the Equus Study Guide! (2707 KB)
As a stage actor, Jean Marchand has starred as Josef Mashkan in Old Wicked Songs (Segal Centre / Théâtre du Rideau Vert), Salieri in Amadeus (Segal Centre), Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet as the lead, Tiresias in Sophocles’ Antigone (Theatre du Nouveau Monde), Louis Jouvet in Elvire/Jouvet/40 (Théâtre du Quat’Sous), Philinte in Molière’s The Misanthrope, Valentine in Kiss of the Spider Woman (National Arts Centre) and Two Pianos Four Hands (American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco) among others. He has appeared in numerous films, including Next Floor (Winner of the Cannes Film Festival best short feature 2008), The Phantom, Mars/Avril, Jésus de Montréal, Blind Rage and A Gift for Kate. Television credits include the mini-series Trudeau, The Duplessis Orphans, and Mauvais karma. Jean has worked extensively in radio for both French and English networks of the CBC.
Dan Jeannotte is a Montreal-born improviser, actor and writer. His theatre credits include Dark Owl (Tableau D’Hôte), Possible Worlds (Uncalled For), Till We Meet Again (Theatre Panache), Dance Animal (Robin Henderson Productions), Cherry Docs (Persephone), Dracula (Fallen Angel), Hedda Gabler (MainLine Theatre), As You Like It (Pumpkin Theatre) and Instant Acts (Interkunst, Berlin). Dan is a founding member of acclaimed comedy troupe Uncalled For – creators of award-winning shows like Hypnogogic Logic and Today Is All Your Birthdays and inventors of the sketch comedy website WeAreUncalledFor.com.
An accomplished stage and screen actor, Ellen has received many accolades for her work including recent ACTRA award nominations for playing “Judith” in CBC’s 18 to Life. She won the ACTRA award for Outstanding Female Performance for her lead role in the film Surviving My Mother, and has been a regular on no less than seven television series. Stage credits include The Daily Miracle (Infinitheatre); In Piazza San Domenico, The Carpenter, Dancing at Lughnasa, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (all at Centaur); Accidents de Parcours (Transthéatre); Tit-Coq (Théatre Denise Pelletier), Mom’s the Word (Just For Laughs), After the Orchard (N.A.C.), and over 200 performances as “Anna” in Mambo Italiano in Montreal and Toronto. Upcoming highlights include appearing opposite Eugene Levy in the film Goon; God of Carnage (Centaur); and directing the Montréal English language premiere of The Leisure Society (Infinitheatre).
Susan is a native Montrealer who has appeared in theatres across Canada, most recently in Geordie Theatre’s production of Andersen’s Inkwell. Upcoming appearances include Coma Unplugged for Talisman Theatre (October 2011) and the world premiere of Morris Panych’s In Absentia for the Centaur Theatre (January 2012). Voice credits include the cartoons Arthur, The Little Lulu Show, My Goldfish is Evil and What’s with Andy. She has appeared in numerous films including I’m Not There, The Bend, Dead Like Me: Life After Death, War Games: The Dead Code, Nuremberg and Everywhere.
Dalton / Horse
Benjamin Hatcher danced for seventeen years with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault. His choreography credits include work for film, various Canadian dance companies, festivals, benefit galas and professional dance schools across Canada. He received the 2002 National Clifford E. Lee choreography award and is a frequent guest dance teacher throughout Quebec.As a stage, film and television actor for twelve years, Benjamin has performed in local and American films and commercials, working with teachers like Danielle Schneider, Danielle Fichaud, Jean-François Nadeau and Simon Rousseau. He has also performed with Côté cour, Côté jardin dedicated to storytelling for young audiences.
Daniel is very happy to be back at the Segal. Previously, he has been seen in Inherit the Wind and An Enemy of the People. Other theatre in Montreal includes: Romeo & Juliet & The Weir (Centaur). Other Theatre: Beowulf (Two Planks), Romeo & Juliet (Neptune), Peter Pan (TNB), Richard II (Exodus), The Weir (Fest. Antigonish), Tigers Heart (Ship’s Co.). Film includes: Darwin’s Darkest Hour, Snow Angels, The Drunk & On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour, The Pilot’s Wife, Scotland PA. Daniel studied drama in Australia. He lives in Nova Scotia with his wife Rachel and their three sons.
Equus is Patricia's first Segal production. She holds a Masters of Classical Acting from Central school in London and a BFA in performance from Concordia University. Selected credits: Intimate Apparel (Spring 2012 at the Centaur theatre) Hedda Gabler, As You Like It, Isadora (Montreal); Return of Corporal Mazenet, Summoning Winter (Toronto); A Kind of Alaska, The Lover by Harold Pinter, Your Nation Loves You (London,UK). She also performs music with Nick Carpenter and writes for the theatre. Patricia is the founder of Limin.ice theatre which explores the metaphor and venue of ice.
Paul Antoine has worked in theatre, television, dance, and film. He is the co-founder and artistic co-director of Théâtre Pigeons International, Inc. Selected theatre credits include Petits fantômes mélancoliques (2009, Pigeons International); My Name is Jean-Paul (2009, Théâtre Triangle Vital); Fallen Angels (2006, Segal Centre) and Babylone (2003, Pigeons International). He is a graduate of l’École Nationale de Théâtre du Canada in performance. His dance studies include modern, classical and ballet with such teachers as Bill Griffith, Richard Brunet and Camilla Malashenko.
Horse / Nurse
Gabriel Painchaud has an eclectic background. After having completed a Masters in Mathematics (2006), he graduated from Ballet Divertimento (2011). He also participated in many dance workshops, such as Transformation Danse and New York City’s Movement Invention Project. He has danced with many choreographers including Rayco Cano Cortez, Sonya Stefan, Eric Miles, Dave St-Pierre, Edgar Zendejas among others. Having been part of high school theatre pieces, he discovered at an early age his passion for stage performance.
Horse / Visitor
Born and raised in the town of Metcale, south of Ottawa, David's background in performing arts began ten years ago in theatre and has since broadened to include musical theatre, film, television and dance. He has studied contemporary dance and ballet with Natasha Royka, jazz with Jean Neveu and various styles at Capital City Dance. Selected credits include Grease (Sock 'N Buskin), Oliver! (ASNY), Urinetown (Erudite) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Orpheus).
Horse (Trooper) / Nurse
Simon Vermeulen began ballet training at age 5 and later toured Canada and the United States with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal’s The Nutcracker. A graduate of the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf’s Visual Arts Program, in the Fine Arts Department (2008), and LADMMI l’École de Danse Contemporaine (2011), Simon has also appeared in several short films, two of which were presented at Festival de Cannes’ Short Film Corner. He has appeared as a model in a number of fashion shows and magazines and in 2011 received a Scholarship Award for the summer training program at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
Having had an eye pierced in her latest screen acting role (The Theatre Bizarre, 2011), Rachelle comes to Equus, with perhaps more sympathy for the horses than the young protagonist. But, as she keeps reminding her drama students at Villa Maria High School in Montreal, the play's the thing. Which has long served as her own motto while pursuing parallel careers as an actor and educator in Canada, the U.S. and Israel. Rachelle also does casting at the Segal Centre and recently directed Shmuel Hasfari’s Havdalah at the F.C. Smith Auditorium for the Hebrew Theatre of the Jewish Public Library.
John C. Dinning
As a set designer for three decades, John has worked with such companies as the Vancouver Playhouse, Alberta Theatre Projects, the Shaw Festival and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Recent Segal designs include Lies My Father Told Me, Blithe Spirit, Educating Rita, The Pirates of Penzance and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Other recent productions include Schwartz’s – The Musical (Centaur), In Piazza San Domenico (Centaur) and The Wild Guys and Misery (Grand Theatre, London, Ontario). Mr. Dinning has garnered several awards and nominations for design and production, including Betty, Merrit and Masques awards.
Susana Vera has been designing and creating costumes for professional theatre and dance in Montreal for the last eight years. Some recent works include The Brazilian and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Theatre Lac Brome, 2011); EL12 by La Otra Orilla presented at the Cinquième Salle de la Place des Arts de Montréal (DanseDanse); Haunted Hillbilly by Sidemart Theatrical Grocery; Death and the Maiden (Centaur); Swan Song of Maria by the Black Theatre Workshop and Inherit the Wind (Segal Centre, 2009). She received a MECCA for the costume design of The Jungle Book (Geordie Productions).
A 1992 graduate of the Option-Théâtre of Collège Lionel-Groulx in Ste-Thérèse (Québec), Nicolas Descôteaux already has to his credit more than eighty lighting projects, many of which have garnered international attention. He’s applied his sensibility and technical expertise to designs for the theatre, circus arts and opera, collaborating with renowned talents such as Robert Lepage (The Geometry of Miracles, The Far Side of the Moon), Marie Chouinard, Kristian Frédric (Big Shoot, Moitié-moitié, Jaz), Denis Marleau (Othello) and Daniele Finzi Pasca. His contributions to Cirque Éloize productions (Nomade, Rain, Typo and I.D.) and to Cirque du Soleil (Corteo) have propelled him to the leading ranks of lighting directors and designers on Montréal’s event and theatre scene. Nominated by l’Académie québécoise du théâtre for his lighting designs in 1995 et 1998, and a scholarship winner from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 1999, 2001 and 2010 for research in light and its application to the stage, he continues to perfect his art in Montréal and abroad.
Equus marks George’s fifth time designing video projections for the Segal Theatre. Past credits include Lies My Father Told Me (2011), A View From the Bridge (2010), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2009) and Tryst (2008). George was also responsible for the video projections in Geordie Productions’ For Art’s Sake this past year at the Centaur. George works full-time as the Segal Centre’s Multimedia Coordinator and is responsible for the various multimedia needs of the Centre. A Montreal native, George graduated from Ryerson Univeristy’s New Media program in Toronto.
Patrick Andrew Boivin is a freelance videographer, editor and musician based in Montreal. He began his career working as a video assistant for visual artist Sylvia Safdie. His involvement with her artistic practice includes editing work, videography, photography, composing and sound design. Patrick’s personal work is routed in documentary storytelling, with a focus on cinematography. His recent projects include a short film on Safdie’s video pieces, editing for artist Geneviève Cadieux, several music videos and a brand profile video for WANT Les Essentiels De La Vie, a luxury leather goods line. Frequently collaborating with George Allister, Equus is Patrick’s first theatre project.
A music scene veteran locally and internationally for over 25 years, Christian has been involved in creating musical components for at least a hundred theatrical productions at La Compagnie Jean Duceppe, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, le Théâtre du Rideau Vert, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Théâtre français de Toronto, among many others. His orchestral suite for the film Du Big Bang au vivant was recorded at CBC Radio-Canada’s Studio 12 with the musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (conductor Joseph Milo). He also earned a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination for his performance in Une soirée avec Jacques Brel (Théâtre français de Toronto). Previous Segal credits include A View from the Bridge, directed by Diana Leblanc. This is Christian’s second production of Equus, after Duceppe’s in 2008.
Elaine works as a stage manager in both English and French theatre as well as in opera. Career highlights include Le procès and Wagner’s Siegfried directed by François Girard, Intérieur and Au cœur de la rose directed by Denis Marleau, Variations énigmatiques, Un fil à la patte and Equus directed by Daniel Roussel. Selected Segal credits include Amadeus, Dangerous Liaisons, Enemy of the People, Harvey, A View from the Bridge, and Old Wicked Songs. In her spare time, Elaine works as a translator.
Assistant Stage Manager
Merissa’s Segal credits include Blithe Spirit, Geometry in Venice, Educating Rita, Dangerous Liaisons, Houdini, I Am My Own Wife and Hedda Gabler. Other credits include Instructions to Any Future Socialist Government Wishing to Abolish Christmas, The Madonna Painter, Age of Arousal, Tales From Ovid, Past Perfect, Mambo Italiano (Centaur); Plaid Tidings, The Miracle Worker, A Few Good Men, The Sound of Music, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Rocky Horror Show (Neptune); Eternal Hydra (Crow’s Theatre); Antigone (Soulpepper); Blasted (Buddies in Bad Times) and others with Projet Porte Parole, Just for Laughs, The Montreal Young Company and Theatre Lac Brome.
Apprentice Stage Manager
Mélanie began her artistic career as a dancer. Following training in technical theatre, she went on to apprentice stage manage at the Segal Centre on Lies My Father Told Me, the Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival (2011) and The Megillah of Itzik Manger. Mélanie also works as a stage technician and a dance teacher.
NEW PRODUCTION OF EQUUS AN ALL-AROUND SUCCESS
AT SEGAL CENTRE; DIRECTOR SENSITIVE TO ALL ELEMENTS
Benjamin Hatcher (left) and Alan Strang in Equus.
Photograph by: DAVE SIDAWAY THE GAZETTE, The Gazette
A newspaper report of a crime involving the mutilation of six horses by a tormented teenager inspired Peter Shaffer's 1973 classic Equus.
But his approach to the material was purely fictional. The play probes the fragile psychology of an only child brought up by two doting but rather dotty parents, a mother who is a former teacher and fervent Christian, and a father who is a printer and crotchety left-winger.
There have been three productions of Equus in Montreal within the last three years, all part of a trend set off by Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, who appeared in a London production in 2007, then Broadway in 2008. Compagnie Jean Duceppe presented it at Place des Arts in 2008, and Village Scene Productions offered it at The Rialto last April.
I enjoyed and admired both productions. But the current, multimedia Equus directed by Domy Reiter-Soffer, which opened Wednesday at the Segal Centre, is the most fully achieved. It's visually stunning, yet intimately connected to the text, sensitive to the fiercely poetic bent of the play.
Structured like a detective novel, with child psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Jean Marchand) presiding as narrator and chief investigator, Equus explores the possibility that all of the king's horses and all the king's men may never be able to put juvenile delinquent Alan Strang (Dan Jeannotte) back together again. And, if they do succeed, there's a chance that he will become an unhappy bore who fits the conventional concept of "normal."
This sobering possibility causes Dysart to reflect on his own passiondeprived life, married to a Scottish dentist who knits while he pores over books on Ancient Greece. Luckily, magistrate Hesther Saloman is around to remind him that it's not all about him, it's about the kid. Susan Glover does her best to make something memorable of this thinly written, functional role.
Marchand looks tweedy and sounds credibly British, delivering a nuanced, highly cerebral performance of the mind doctor who feels that he's losing his.
But in this production, it's Alan who has the upper hand. Jeannotte commands the stage with a wonderfully physical performance, sometimes a bit heavy on the bug-eyed innocence or the studied stance, yet consistently engaging. The savage dance of the crime re-enactment scene would be breathtaking even without the nudity (which on this stage, is very up close and personal).
Ellen David takes the meddling mother role to new heights, ably supported by Daniel Lillford as resentful Dad. Together, they send our sympathies toward the 17-year-old boy caught between them.
Patricia Summersett gracefully accomplishes what little she has to do (besides taking off her clothes) as Alan's love interest, Jill.
The horses, all men, prance beautifully, flashing muscles beneath their cut-out body stockings. (Paul-Antoine Taillefer plays proud Nugget. The other dancers, Gabriel Painchaud, David Rowan, Benjamin Hatcher and Simon Vermeulen, also appear in other roles.) In every production of Equus, the horses reign.
Having previously directed Equus as a ballet, Reiter-Soffer has a keen understanding of the structure of the piece, its visual possibilities and its lyrical qualities.
Set designer John C. Dinning has outdone himself with a curved minimalist structure, with undulating wooden walls and metal poles suggesting spikes. Projected images flow on a backdrop screen.
The music, composed by Christian Thomas, adds a cinematic, at times melodramatic, touch.
This Equus keeps both the eyes and the mind engaged for the duration (Two hours and 30 minutes, intermission included.)
Equus continues until Oct. 2 at the Segal Centre, 5170 Côte Ste. Catherine Rd. Call 514-739-7944 or visit www.segalcentre.org.
View article in the Gazette