With Equus I found the principle challenge was in capturing the dark and slightly disturbing tone of the play, without detracting from the clinical quality of the psychiatric ward, or the earthiness of the stables. The central feature of the set was a single anamorphic circle, painted in silver enamel paint covering the stage floor and back wall. The concept behind it was firstly spatial and temporal – a way of containing the characters speaking on the raised, boxing-ring- style deck, away from the characters and hanging horse heads on the outside of the circle. The characters would respect the circle’s outline before entering or leaving the scene. From the audience’s perspective the circle was a device that lent itself to the psychological and ritualistic elements of the play. The fact that each audience member clearly got a different view of the circle, emphasised how the Doctor and Alan had very different yet repetitive fascinations. The lighting lit the circle in flashing iridescent pink or blue, and the rising smoke half-obscured it as the horses danced around Alan, reflecting the alarming nature of the final sacrifice. The small budget was a crucial challenge. Yet in having to create minimal but effective designs, it meant that the sets did not overpower the dialogue, and had to do a lot of work to enhance atmosphere and mood.
Full sketches and designs available on request.
Reviews Equus, 3 – 7 March 2015, Bedlam
“No matter, for this is a super fit production and the horses look the part. Do not, under any circumstances, think germinal, theatrical, War Horse, for director Emily Aboud achieves blinding drama… Designer Emeline Beroud respects Peter Shaffer’s original setting... And the visual action is extraordinarily effective… When it all goes dark, in between the strobe flashes, it’s a stampede of the mind… ideas free rein and exciting liberty.”
The Student Newspaper - 5*, Isabella Blakey March 10, 2015
“As the lights dimmed, the electric blue glow cast an eerie and unnerving shadow over the room… The frightening blood red lights of the horses’ eyes created a visual feast of madness as Strang’s religious adoration of Equus reached a sexual frenzy... A tense and profound performance, beautifully executed, Emily Aboud’s Equus is a haunting success…”
All Edinburgh Review - 4* Darkly iconic By Thom Dibdin March 6, 2015
“Stark yet fully rounded, the EUTC’s production of Equus, at the Bedlam to Saturday, gets right to the nub of Peter Shaefer’s script and delivers four square on the drama… Director Emily Aboud has brought a really strong team to the project. Emeline Beroud’s set provides the feel of a stables, but is also a combative arena. A central raised area on which the action takes place is surrounded by the whole (human) cast, always on view, examined and questioned in their silence every bit as much as Alan Strang is being examined.