When theaters receive the script about a troubled 17-year-old who blinds six horses in a passionate fit that mixes religion and sexuality, staff members must sign a waiver that they won’t cut the controversial nude scene. Perhaps that’s why it’s been 10 years since a local theater staged the 1973 play.
But Blank Canvas Theatre thrives on risky material, so it’s reviving the show Aug. 11-26.
To rein in this wild beast, director Patrick Ciamacco cast 20-year-old incoming Cleveland State University theater student Antonio DeJesus for his ability to bring emotion to the demanding part of Alan Strang.
“He has an affected quality,” Ciamacco says.
We chat with DeJesus about this ambitious role.
Q: Ciamacco says you’re someone the audience can care about. How are you bringing that out in Alan?
A: A lot of people read over the summary, and it’s nudity and it’s violence. There’s more. It’s passion, insanity too. To be able to care about the character and to see where they come from. To understand why people do the things the way they do. [Alan is] a human being who is struggling and needs help, but no one is giving him that.
Q: What about the nude scene?
A: Nudity and freedom of expression and individuality isn’t as sexual as the mainstream media makes it. We were able to appreciate each other for who we were. I’m comfortable with it.
Q: After being gone 10 years, why does Cleveland need a show like Equus?
A: Other theaters should take risks. That’s why Patrick’s season at Blank Canvas has been interesting, because they are doing shows like Cabaret. A lot of people are used to seeing campy shows like Mary Poppins. But it’s important that people see raw and different theater. Homosexuality and individuality — these theaters are making sense of that. That’s the new age of community theater that needs to come out.
theater & dance
12:00 PM EST
August 11, 2017