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Peter Shaffer Equus

Peter Shaffer Equus

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Peter Shaffer Equus

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  1. Peter ShafferEquus • By Lumi, Leon, Jones, Louis

  2. Peter Shaffer an English Playwright • born on May 15, 1926, in Liverpool, England. • worked in the Chislet coal mine in 1944 to 1947. • attended Trinity College in Cambridge and majored in history and received a B.A in1950. • was awarded the prestigious honorary title of Commander, Order of the British Empire in 1987. • Gained English knighthood in 2001. Source Image source

  3. Bevin Boys source From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Bevin Boys were young British men conscripted to work in the coal mines of the United Kingdom, from December 1943 until the end of World War II. Chosen at random from among the conscripts, nearly 48,000 Bevin Boys performed vital but largely unrecognised service in the coal mines, many not being released until years after the war.

  4. 1951- 1954 • worked a variety of jobs: • at Doubleday's Book Shop • An airline terminal • Grand Central Station • Lord and Taylors department store • New York Public Library. • 1951 under the pseudonym Peter Antony, • penned The Woman in the Wardrobe • (1st detective novel) • 1952How Doth the Little Crocodile? • 1955Withered Murder

  5. Five Finger Exercise (1958) The Private Ear (1962; filmed 1966 ) The Public Eye (1962; filmed 1972) Black Comedy (1965) The Royal hunt of the Sun (1964) Shriving (1970) Equus (1973) Amadaus (1979) Yonadab (1985) Lettice and Lovgge (1987) The Gift of the Gorgon (1992) Peter Shaffer’s Famous Works source source source

  6. Plays for Television The Salt Land (1955) Balance of Terror (1957) A screenplay The Lord of the Files (1963) Plays for Radio Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing? (1989) Peter Shaffer source

  7. Five Finger Exercise Shriving Equus Three plays presented at the National Theatre Source

  8. has proved a sensational triumph both in London and New York, where it was awarded the Tony Award for the Best Play, 1975. Peter Shaffer’s Equus source source source Source Image source

  9. Summary: Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist, had a case about a seventeen-year-old boy named Alan Strang who savagely blinded six horses in a stable in Hampshire, England. Dysart started the investigation with all kinds of counseling skills including hypnosis. As Dysart exposes the truth behind the boy’s demons, he finds himself face-to-face with his own. Plot

  10. Martin Dysart started to recall this case from the very beginning, after he ‘saw’ Alan and Nugget. He was confused. Plot

  11. Alan blinded six horses. Hesther, the magistrate, convinced others to bring Alan to Dysart for treatment instead of to prison. Alan didn't cooperate with Dysart at first, but just kept singing commercial songs. Dysart had a dream about carving children that night after he saw Alan. “I part the flaps,… the other two then study the pattern… It’s this unique talent for carving that has got me where I am.” (216) Plot

  12. Dysart tried to find the reason Alan blinded the horses so he visited Alan’s parents. He found that the father Frank was an atheist (Communist even), yet the mother Dora, a Catholic. They had many conflicts beneath the “harmonious” surface. Frank: “She thinks she married beneath her.” (225) “it’s the Bible that’s responsible for all this.” “Bloody religion – it’s our only real problem in this house…” (226) Dora: “sex is not just a biological matter, but spiritual as well. That if God willed, he would fall in love one day” (227) Plot

  13. Education? Frank: “She doesn’t care if he can hardly write his own name, and she a school teacher that was. Just as long as he’s happy, she says…” (225) Dora: “I don’t believe in interfering too much with children…” (237) Love? Dora: “the boy’s hurt!”; ”Frank, he’s bleeding!” (233) and Frank ignored her. Dora: “How is he, by the way?” (237) Shifting the blame onto others Dora: “Whatever’s happened has happened because of Alan.” “If you knew God…You would know Devil. The Devil’s there” (270) Plot

  14. Alan had nightmare and cried about "Ek“. Dysart played a game with Alan. Alan then described his experience about meet and ride a horse for the first time. But Alan’s exultancy was suddenly interrupted by his parents. Frank: “Come down at once. Right this moment.”(233) ▲ Damsel in distress, Castle, Horse, Prince Charming. Plot

  15. Alan: “All the power going any way you wanted… Then suddenly I was on the ground, where Dad pulled me. I could have bashed him…” (240) “I wish I was a cowboy. They’re free. They just swing up and then it’s miles of grass… I bet all cowboys are orphans!… I bet they are!” (241) Plot

  16. Our Lord on his way to Calvary A horse looking over a gate Plot

  17. Frank came to visit Dysart and told him about Alan's strange ritual. Dysart: “Why is Equus in chains?” Alan: “For the sins of the world.”(258) Plot

  18. ACT I 15 ~ 18 Alan told Dysart how he started to work in stable Alan asked Dysart about his marriage and annoyed him; the room became Dysart's torture chamber. Dysart and Hesther argued about 'what is normal.‘ ACT I 19 ~ 21 Dysart gave Alan a hypnosis and realized his ceremony and his ‘HAHA’. Plot

  19. ACT II 22 ~ 25 Conflict about Worship, Passion and Pain in Dysart’s head. Dysart: “Can you think of anything worse one can do to anybody than take away their worship?” (272) Dysart: “But that boy has known a passion more ferocious than I have felt in any second of my life… I envy it.” Hesther: “You can’t.”(274) Plot

  20. ACT II 26 ~ 34 Dysart gave Alan 'Truth Drug', and Alan started to talk about Jill, the night they got out, how he met his father, and how they went to the stable. Alan acted out what happened that night. ACT II 35 Dysart’s confession. Dysart: “Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.”(300) “I need – more desperately than my children need me – a way of seeing in the dark.” (301) Plot

  21. Characters Hesther Salomon, a magistrate Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist Doctor Atheist Patient Frank Strang, his father Alan Strang Dora Strang, his mother Horses Catholic Jill Mason A Young Horseman Harry Dalton, a stable owner

  22. Characters Martin Dysart: In this play, he played the role of a psychiatrist, trying to cure the seventeen-year-old young man, Alan. Like Alan, the protagonist, in the beginning of this play, Dysart also acted like the readers considering Alan’s behavior “abnormal.” However, later on Dysart found Alan’s strange behavior, in fact, came from passion and essentiality which could not be found in Dysart himself. The relationship between Martin and his wife were indifferent because they didn’t have good sex and no children. The doctor tried to conceal this “abnormal” secret behind his “normal” job. So he had become jealous of Alan Strang’s passion. Besides, the doctor thought his trying to cure Alan may also destroy the young man’s original passion.

  23. Characters Alan Strang: He is one of the main characters in this play. Alan, at his childhood, was constantly driven into religious thoughts by his mother and forbidden to watch TV because of his father. His mother told him the story about Jesus Christ’s suffering for human beings, and he attached the picture of the story on the wall of his bedroom. When his father tore it off the wall because of the quarrel with Dora about religion, Alan went into hysterical crying for days without stopping. Later, given the photo of a horse, Alan finally stopped crying. Besides, at the age of six, one day when Alan was building a sandcastle on a beach, he met a horseman and climbed onto the horseback. From then on, he had passionately loved horses, which affected his sexual aptitude and caused his blinding six horses.In addition, Alan’s last name, Strang, was quite similar to the word, strange, and this might be the hint of his strange behavior.

  24. Characters Frank Strang: Frank was Alan’s father, and he was an atheist. He forbade Alan from watching TV, and he sometimes argued with his pious wife on some religious matters. The opposite attitudes to religion caused the loveless atmosphere of this family, and he went to the theater to watch adult movies.

  25. Characters Dora Strang: Dora was Alan’s mother, and she was a religious person. She used to tell stories in the Bible to Alan when he was just a child, and the content of the story was about Jesus Christ’s suffering to death. Alan’s father considered it a bloody religion, and the doctor also considered that Dora should take responsibility for Alan’s extreme behavior. However, Dora said that Alan’s terrible behavior was caused by Devil. What she said becomes an irony because she was a “faithful” religious woman, and she was obviously trying to put the blame on devils.

  26. Characters Hesther Salomon: She asked Dr. Dysart to cure Alan’s eccentric “illness” in psychiatry. She treated the young man with the view different from the society. Her intuition told her that Alan was suffering and needed help, so what she thought was curing Alan, not just putting him into jail. Harry Dalton: He was Alan’s boss, who represented the view of society. He insisted on putting Alan into jail because he thought Alan abnormal. Both Harry and Hesther thought Alan was not in his right mind; however, Hesther treated him with sympathy, but Harry with resentment.

  27. Characters Horseman: At the age of six, Alan saw a man riding a horse on the beach. The horseman invited Alan to ride the horse. When sitting on the horseback, Alan got the wonderful feeling that he had never had before, and Alan felt that he had escaped from his father’s restriction. The horseman could be regarded as Alan’s savior in spirit. Jill Mason: She was Alan’s coworker. Once she brought Alan to watch adult movie in a theater, where he saw his father. Besides, she wanted to have sex with Alan in the stable, but he was impotent just because he felt that he betrayed his Equus. Besides, Alan felt the horses were staring at him through the shut door, and then he couldn’t stand the guilt and blinded all of them. So Jill could be regarded as the fuse of this terrible incident.

  28. Theme The play is mainly about the concept of normality. What is “normal”? For example: "The Normal is the good smile in a child’s eyes” but also as “the dead stare in a million adults”. (257)

  29. Symbol Horses: Godslave “Why is Equus in chains?” and “For the sins of the world.”(258) “Equus, my Godslave…we ride against them all.”(265) The chains relate back to the picture of Jesus on his way to Calvary that was replaced by the picture of the horse. Stable: Equus’ temple “ Holy of Holies.”(259) “He’s a mean bugger! Ride- or fall! That’s Straw Law.”(259) This relates to Christianity. Jesus was born in a stable in the straw.

  30. Symbol Telly (TV): dangerous drug “It’s a dangerous drug.” (219) “You sit in front of that thing long enough,…like most of the population.” (219) “Mindless violence! Mindless jokes!...” (220) “What did you do last night?... Watched telly.” (244) Mask: priest “I’m a chief priest …holding a sharp knife.” and “the sacrifice is a herd of children.” (216) “Carving up children.” (228) “Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.” (300)

  31. Chorus Peter Shaffer uses a chorus to make sounds described as the Equus’ noise. “Suddenly I heard this noise.”(230) The Equus’ noise is first heard in the beach scene when Alan has his first encounter with a horse.   “Chorus makes a warning hum.”(290) It is described a ‘warning hum’ and is showing that Equus is watching what Alan is doing and disapproves.

  32. The theme of religion explored in Equus One of the major themes in Peter Shaffer’s play "Equus" is religion, or more specifically religious worship, and its importance to the emotional and mental well being of man. This theme is explored through several characters throughout the play and as the play progresses it becomes clear it is worship, and through that passion, what everything in the end comes down to.

  33. Midnight Ride “The King ride out on Equus, mightiest of horses… AMEN!”(265~266) The midnight ride is a sacramental means of identification with a Christ who trample his enemies. Several phantasms which haunt the boy’s mind are blended in skillful gradation: hostilities, self-punishment, erotic desire and religious needs. The prepositional phrase “on you” becomes “in you” and leads to direct transcend: “I want to BE you forever and forever…Amen.” The boy wants to transcend both himself and time. The repeated phrase “one person” accentuates the search for ontological security. The play is a quest for being.

  34. The issue of the influences of the parents on a child “Religion is the opium of the people?” (221) “especially when I hear her whispering that Bible to him hour after hour, up there in his room.” (225) “It can mark anyone for life, that kind of thing.” (226) Many of the phrases that Alan has taken and used in his religion are connected with the Christian religion that Dora believes so devoutly in.

  35. “Come on, Trojan-- bear me away!” (232) “Bear you away. Two shall be one.” (259) The bearing away phrase seems to originate from the time when Alan was riding Trojan on the beach and the horseman said to make Trojan go faster all you have to say is ‘bear me away’. This phrase also suggests bearing away from the ‘normal world’ and arriving in a world of passion and Equus’ religion.

  36. “I used to have to read him the same book over and over, all about horse.” (222) • When Alan was younger, Dora told him that when Christian cavalry first appeared in the New World, the pagans thought that horse and rider were one person, even a God. These events from Alan’s past are links and have had a great influence on him.   Many of these links appear to originate from things his mother had said to him about religion, clearly demonstrating the power of the role and influences of a parent on a child.

  37. “The Hosts of Jodhpur.  The Hosts of Bowler and Gymkhana.  All those who show him off for their vanity. Tie rosettes on his head for their vanity!” (265) Alan’s interest in horses may have also had been sparked by his mother and her horsy side of the family. This shows that Alan has taken these views from Frank who has strong views against ‘upper-class riff-raff’ and the world of equitation.   Alan seems to be confused by his parent’s divided views on religion, horses and sex.   However, it can be argued that this is not Alan’s parents’ fault as at the end of the day it is Alan himself who takes his parents’ views and chooses to use them on his own religion.

  38. WORKSHOP ON BASIC COUNSELLING SKILLSsource • Empathy - the counselor must concentrate on understanding how the client sees the world and feels about it, and must be able to show the client that she has this understanding. • Acceptance - the counselor must be able to show the client that she/he accepts the client as someone of worth, that she/he values the client unconditionally as a person, even if she disapproves of the client's behavior. • Genuineness - the counselor must be really there in the relationship, not pretending to be someone she/he isn't, not saying one thing and meaning another, not hiding her/his feelings. the "person-centered" approach to counseling the American psychologist Carl Rogers

  39. Transference and Countertransference:source Are natural projective behaviors and are to be expected in the counseling relationship. Transference refers to certain unconsciously redirected feelings, fears, or emotions from a client towards the counselor. By Kevin C. Jackson (2002) refers to the projecting of a counselor's experiences, values and repressed emotions that are awakened by identification with the client's experiences Countertransference

  40. Questions • Why does Alan blind the horses? Why does he say "KILL ME!...KILL ME!" after he relives the act with Dysart ? • Is Dysart more concerned about Alan's welfare than his own? • On the beach, why is Frank so angry with the houseman who takes Alan riding? Why is this event so important to Alan? • Does Alan want Dysart to "cure" him? Why does he reveal his inner world to Dysart? • What does Dysart mean when in the play's last scene he says, "There is now, in my mouth, this sharp chain. And it never comes out"?

  41. Reference English Sources: • Alley Theatre. “Equus: A Theatre Guide.” 2000-2001. 26 April 2006 <>. • “'Equus': An analysis of normality” by Christine. 26 April 2006 <>. • Hays, Richard. “Equus: Human Conflicts and the Trinity.” 26 April 2006 <>. • Jackson, Kevin C. “Counselling Transference and CounterTransference Issues.” March 2002 <>. • Menanet. “Shaffer, Peter: 1926.” SwissEduc-Team. August 25, 2005. 26 April 2006 <>. • Shaffer, Peter. Equus. Three Plays: Five Finger Exercise, Shrivings, Equus. Rpt. ed. New York: Penguin, 1978. 197-301. Chinese Sources: • 楊世彭,《戀馬狂的劇本與演出》, 1994。  <>.