Controversial play slated for production at MSU

By ALEX HEIDEMA/Montana State News

The controversial play “Equus” is coming to the Montana State University campus in April with scenes containing nudity and bestiality.

Despite the controversy circling “Equus,” those involved with the production believe it will be a challenging, yet compelling show that will benefit themselves as performers, as well as the community as a whole.

In the MSU production, the main role, Alan Strang will be played by Kyle Downs, who does not doubt “Equus” stirring up the public.

“It’s something very different than what our program has put out recently and, needless to say, something much more controversial than Bozeman is used to,” said Downs.

Not surprisingly, Downs’s greatest challenge lies in the ending nude scene. “The nude scene is by far my largest trepidation when it comes to ‘Equus’,” confesses Downs.

Despite his apprehension, Downs feels confident in the direction of Stephanie Campbell, MSU professor and head director for the play.

“I’m confident that all the nudity will be tasteful and serve the story,” Downs stated.

“Equus” first premiered in London in 1973. Forty years later, the play is still raising eyebrows. Recently, the curtains rose at London’s Gielgud Theater, where Daniel Radcliffe, most known for his performance as Harry Potter, received much public attention for his portrayal of Alan in the play.

The Tony-Award-winning drama “Equus” follows 17-year-old Alan Strang, who develops an erotic fixation for horses. The controversy of this play stems not only from the aspect of bestiality, but also from several uncomfortable scenes in the play, including violence between Alan and the horses and a nude sex scene.

Film student Taylor Roberts, believes the biggest challenge will be informing the public about the play. He believes the public’s opinion is skewed and, therefore, students may not be interested in the play.

Roberts said, “A lot of people won’t give it a chance based on the controversy, but it’s actually a well-written psychological study of a delinquent and mentally unsound kid. So people that don’t take the time to learn what it’s really about will probably object to it.”

Stage manager Tori Smith said, “I most certainly hope the play will be a positive and enlightening experience for the Bozeman and campus community. I think doing this production will also open up new doors for types of plays we take on in the future.”

‘Equus’ certainly contains the material to enlighten people, whether that will be a positive experience accepted by the community is yet to be determined.

– Edited by Lauren Shun

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