Since I have read and heard a lot of raving reviews for Repertory Philippines‘ production of Equus, I said to myself I should not miss it. Although some of you knows that I am a lover of musicals, this Peter Shaffer award-winning masterpiece about a 17-year old boy Alan Strang who worshipped a horse but ironically committed a crime of blinding six horses caught my attention since the hype about Radcliffe. It’s a straight play, not a musical.

Braving through Manila traffic on a Friday night is one hell of a feat. I wished I had a horse myself! (hahaha!) My companion and I arrived at Onstage in Greenbelt 1 twenty minutes after the show has actually started. I was about to be very disappointed but we still managed to get good seats.

I did not expect anything about the stage design which was actually crappy, nor the costumes or the lightings (decent enough). But the acting of almost all of the cast is just impressive, especially Miguel Faustman who played the Strang boy’s shrink and a theater neophyte Marco Mañalac who managed to snatch the controversial role of Alan Strang at the last stage of auditions.

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Miquel Faustman’s acting was a given. He is a veteran theater actor. What struck me most, however, is the very boyish 21-year old Marco who exhibited not just his body but a raw yet effective acting. With his educational background (an Atenean), I did not expect him to strip naked on the stage and be exposed for about fifteen minutes. For a stage newcomer, that was bold as his acting.

Overall, I enjoyed the play except that I could not overlook the thick, fake and inconsistent British accent of some of the actors.

Equus was directed by Audie Gemora and ran from July 9 to 25 at the Onstage! Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Equus also featured Jaime Del Mundo, Pheona Barranda, Roselyn Perez, Tami Monsod, Dido dela Paz and Red Concepcion, who alternated with Marco as Alan.


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