16 November 2009

Interview: EQUUS Nationale Toneel (English)

by Marion

14th November 2009, Muzeval: Emmen

I went to the Dutch version from Equus here in Holland. It was really great but also quite different then the only with Daniel which I saw in London two years ago. Things that were different where: they didn’t used “horse masks” on their heads like in London, but they had fake horses lying on the ground with still some men pretending to be the horses. And they had some more effect like projecting some images during the play. I had thought about some questions I couldn’t wait to ask Xander van Vledder [24]. Well I was lucky because he was willing to answer them all! I asked him some questions, like his point of view on Equus but also what he thought about Dan in Equus. You can read the answers here!

After the show I got the chance to talk to him, which was great. He asked me what I thought about this play referring to the fact I saw Equus in London. I told him that it was different, but that I also liked this version of it. But Xander, thanks for your time, and you were amazing as Alan. I wish you much luck into your career!

The questions:

1) What do you think of the story behind Equus?
I think that the story of Equus is really fascinating. It makes you question about what is normal and what’s not. Everyone had hidden fears, desires, but the question is, till how far do you show them? Everyone around you makes out if you are a little odd or crazy. Equus is playing with this thought. How “crazy’ Alan normal can be and how the “normal” Dysart can get crazy.

2) How did you get this role?
I heard via someone else that I would play Alan, it was only not official yet. I’m an actor from the group “Nationale Toneel”. And if there is a play coming up which you think there is a great part which you really want, then you try to get that part. When I heard I actually got it, I was very happy.
Alan Strang is one of the most greatest roles you can have as a Young actor. He has so many aspects: at the beginning he is reserved and scared. He is a teen on the edge of adolescence. He is a child and a man. And he is really intelligent (that’s what I think) he is good at manipulating. He carries a secret with him the while play. And there are scenes I can play him as a little boy, so it’s one of the many amazing roles from theatre.

4) And some things you don’t really like?
No. Not a moment. Not even a sentence that I don’t like. And if I had, then it wasn’t because of Shaffer, but just me because I’m not playing it the right way.

5) Any special things you did to get ready for this role?
I lost weight! I lost 10 kilo for this role. From vanity, but also because you look younger then (im 24). And I have been reading a lot, and watched programs about this topic, just to get inspiration on the theme, but not so much for the role. Of course I saw the movie, and even a DVD from amateur version. That’s a way for me to see what I could do and what not.

6) Did you went to London or New York to see Equus?

- if yes, what did you think of the English version?
-What do you think of Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Strang?

yes, I saw Equus on Broadway, together with our director Johan Doesburg. Our version is different, you will see that. Something was clear to me when I watched Equus there into the Broadhurst theatre. Almost everything what is written into the script is there on the stage. They don’t leave something out of it. I saw again how great the play is ( I already had read it of course) but thought it was a traditional play in the US.

Then Daniel Radcliffe. I was a bit nervous to see him. I kept thinking: what if I think he is brilliant into that role. How will ever be able to do it myself then? And then I came into the theatre. I thought he was good. Even when you think he never really had stage lessons, and only had done the Harry Potter movies before it. He looked really tormented as Alan. But then I thought he showed not many sides of Alan. Like I said earlier, the role of Alan has so many sides. It’s also about passion in a positive way, he also could have shown a happy, nice guy in some moments, but then I didn’t really saw that with Daniel, so I wasn’t discouraged to start on the role, but again Daniel was really good. They also play it there 8 times in a week. I said yesterday to Pieter (who plays the psychiatrist. Imagine doing this that many times, I don’t understand how they do that, how they find the strength and inspiration for that.

7) What do you think about the nude scene into the play?
Well.. I think it got such a big deal because of the fact that a “childstar” or how people even say that, get’s nude all in a sudden. It’s functional, vulnerable and totally not cheap. Into the beginning it’s quite scary, when you when the lights are on again are standing there a bit dazed, looking for your underwear. Before an audience, I don’t really care. Oh well yesterday in Arnhem, there were quite many Young people into the audience, and then it is slightly different, but also that is gone after some seconds.

8) Was it the idea to bring Equus to Holland, after the success on Broadway and West End?
yes, true. It was. The original plan was a co-production with Joop van den Ende Theaterproducties. Expecially a commercial producent is interested into the international success. But then the discussion went to the content of the play, and it seems it is very recent and good to bring on stage.

9) Who wrote the Dutch version?
The English text is just translated to Dutch, by Johan Boonen, a Fleming. He did that a couple of years ago for another group, and we had to edit the text by getting out the Flemish parts, so it is a bit shorter. The visual things that are happening on stage, are thought by us: the director, the actors, choreographer, and the dancers.

© Daniel J Radcliffe Holland [danieljradcliffe.tk] 2009. With thanks to Xander van Vledder from the Nationale Toneel. www.nationaletoneel.nl