Equus, which tells the story of a troubled 17 year-old stable boy who blinds his horses, was originally produced by the National Theatre at the Old Vic in 1973, directed by John Dexter, and starring Alec McCowen as psychiatrist Martin Dysart and Peter Firth as Alan Strang, the patient. The play transferred to Broadway starring Anthony Hopkins and Firth, where it ran for 1,200 performances and received the Tony Award for Best Play in 1975, making it one of the most successful plays in New York history.
The controversial drama, which was made into a Hollywood film starring Richard Burton in 1977, is based on a true story. Shaffer (whose other plays include The Royal Hunt of the Sun – currently in rep at the National), was inspired to write Equus when he heard of a crime involving a teenage boy's apparently senseless injury to horses. The play will require Radcliffe to simulate sexual satisfaction while riding naked on a horse.
Radcliffe, who made his stage debut as a celebrity guest in The Play What I Wrote (also produced by Pugh and Rogers) after finding fame as the young wizard in the film adaptations of JK Rowling's popular books, will star as Alan Strang in Equus for 16 weeks to 19 June 2007. Griffiths – who incidentally plays Harry’s nasty uncle in the Harry Potter films - will play his psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, who tries to understand the motives behind the boy’s actions in the drama.
- by Caroline Ansdell