More on Final Equus on Broadway Performance
Many thanks to Carol for sending in some really lovely stage-door pictures of Dan for you to enjoy:
And many thanks to Val H. for sharing her impressions of the last performance of Equus on Broadway with us. Click on the Read more link below to continue…
On this day, I was sitting in one of the stage seats: number 10, Row B. I was skeptical of this location at first as it was on the second level of this seating arrangement, but on being directed to it I realized it was perfect. Below me and in front the theatre was filling rapidly, and the stage seating was already full. As I settled down I could hear one of my favorite sounds: the familiar buzz of an audience in conversation. The theatre itself was laid out in front of me and around me, full of red seats, and I noticed the pockets of gold leaf painted in the designs of the patterns. Huge chandeliers were suspended from the ceiling and sparkled above all.
The house lights finally dimmed and it started. On stage walked Dan, bathed in a soft light. The audience gave a burst of applause at his appearance, and so it began for the last time. Richard Griffiths lit his lighter from the shadows and began his line, “With one particular horse called Nugget, he embraces”; there was a round of applause for him as well, and on it went.
I had a wonderful perspective of the play from my seat. I was able to see the expressions on the faces of the cast as they spoke their lines, and it was wonderful to be up close and almost personally involved in the action going on below. From my perch I was able to appreciate the great lighting effects for the first time, and they really added to the atmosphere of the scenes played out before us. As each moment went by, a quiet thought kept creeping into my head: ‘There, that is the last time for that part’.
Soon Dan was finishing off the wonderful monologue at the end of the first act, and again I felt the emotion and the tragedy of it right to my bones. I also discovered how they made his voice so loud in those last lines: there was a microphone installed in Lorenzo Pisoni’s (Nugget) headdress that magnified Dan’s voice to a trumpet call “AMEN”
The applause died away. It was intermission, and while we stood and stretched I was able to exchange a few words with the audience members sitting beside me: A young man from British Columbia Canada and a couple of ladies from the States. We all judged the show to be excellent and agreed the level of everyone’s performance was amazing. I then slipped away and was able to get to the merchandise booth in the lobby and purchase a poster to add to my collection at home. I nodded ‘hello’ to the theatre doorman, who kindly let me in to the foyer a couple of months ago so that I could purchase a tote bag at intermission. He smiled back.
And then we were back for the final act; as usual towards the very end, the scene with Jill and Alan in the stable and then Alan’s admission of the reason he injured the horses were played out in complete silence, with everyone feeling the tragedy that is this boy’s life and the profound dispair of Alan Strang. As Dan leaped around and across the stage during Alan’s path of destruction, which was an amazing feat in itself, we all recognized that there is so much more to this talented young actor than his role as Harry Potter.
So it was done. The house lights came up and the audience rose to its feet to give the cast another, this time final, standing ovation. At the end of the parade of supporting cast members, Daniel and Richard walked out and a great roar went up from the audience, the sound filling the theatre. It was so thrilling! The cast turned their backs on the main body of the audience to give the people above them in the stage seats a bow too. The audience never gave up applauding, cheering and whistling.
Then Dan held out his arms to quiet us down, and the audience responded as he said “please, please sit down. Makes yourselves comfortable”. We all sat. Wow! No doubt everyone was mesmerized and hypnotized by it all… I know I was! Dan then made a speech, but unfortunately for us up in the stage seats, we didn’t catch a lot of what he said as he was now addressing the main body of the theatre. Richard also addressed the audience, remarking that they had arrived in August, and here they were at the end of it all in February. He then went on to recite a poem by Robert Frost called “The Road Not Taken“, quoting the lines “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Everything seemed bathed in sunshine because of the bright lights on stage and in the theatre. After Dan’s and Richard’s speeches, people from backstage came on and presented all the cast members with bouquets of wheat done up in florist’s paper, and that got a good laugh from the cast. Someone from the audience tossed a soft toy across the footlights to Dan; it was a good shot and Dan was pretty swift on this feet as the object came flying towards him. It was a toy chestnut colored horse! Dan seemed to like it, and was waving it back to the person who threw it to him. The cast then began to hug one another. Director Thea Sharrock was in the mix, as well as playwright Peter Shaffer who gave Dan some extra big hugs. As all the cast members were saying their goodbyes, a gentleman sitting in the front row was handing up single red roses to the ladies on stage.
During all this time, the audience applauded, but to me, as always when a show brings down its final curtain, one sensed an atmosphere of sadness in the applause. With our applause we were saying farewell to the players and, as Dan fans, our messages were particularly for him: “We will miss you”. “It’s been great having you here”. “It’s been wonderful to get to know you”. “Please come back when you can”. “Safe journey home”. “We will be seeing you soon in the summer”. “Thank you for giving us this opportunity to see you in a different lights”. “You were fantastic. Journey well.”