By Brandi Wylie ’24, student intern 

The Wofford College Theatre Department’s spring production of “Equus” hits the stage beginning April 20.

Alex Malvern ’23, an English major from Greenville, South Carolina, plays one of the main characters, Alan Strang, and describes “Equus” as a show that is about belief and understanding one another, and making one’s pain mean something. 

His character is an example that takes this message to an extreme level, which comes with many creative acting and directive choices.

“I get to do a lot of physically exciting things, so I’m excited for all of the movements and actions,” says Malvern. “When people see the set and the first few scenes, the production is going to seem very chill, but it will soon break those expectations.”

“Equus” will run in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theatre at 8 p.m. on April 20-22 and 26-29. Tickets can be purchased at Student tickets are $5, faculty and staff tickets are $10, and outside guest tickets are $12.

Hailie Gold ’23, an English and theatre major from Greenville, South Carolina, has taken on the role of director and is excited for this to be the fourth and final production under her direction to hit the Wofford stage. 

“A lot of plays are statements, but ‘Equus’ is a question,” Gold says. “The story starts and stops midway. We get an episode.”

Gold chose this play because of its seriousness and the level of skill in directing and acting that it requires.

This is Gold’s first time directing a semester-long production at Wofford. She has directed two plays during Interim and another as part of a course. Working with a longer timeline contributed to her choosing such a serious production. 

She has brought in a number of professional acting teachers to train the young cast on how to play middle-aged characters, how intimacy scenes should be depicted and more.

Mary-Michael O’Hara ’25, an English and theatre major from Charleston, South Carolina, will play Dr. Dysart, a main character that is traditionally played by a male actor. Because of this difference, O’Hara has the responsibility of creating Dysart’s new personality as a woman.

“It’s a lot of work and it’s the most intensive rehearsal I’ve ever been a part of,” O’Hara says. “We all arrive at 6:30 p.m. every night and give our all, and then walk away at 10 p.m., leaving a part of ourselves on that stage.” 

Since Gold also is a student, the cast and crew can connect with her on a deeper level. 

“We all have so much respect for Hailie and her direction and feel like she’s a part of our ensemble in some ways,” Malvern says. “It’s a collaborative effort. Because I feel so comfortable with Hailie, I feel more comfortable making bold choices on stage.” 

One of these bold choices is displaying nudity, which the Wofford College Theatre has described in their content disclosure as follows: “Equus is a dangerous, daring and evocative play about the lines between belief, passion and mental health through the eyes of a young man called Alan and his psychiatrist, Dr. Dysart. This play is intended for mature audiences and contains depictions of violence and sexual acts, smoking, strobe effects and nudity.” 

“We’ve been keeping this for ourselves for so long that putting it into the world and letting people connect with it and receive it is more exciting than any fear we could have about if it is good enough,” O’Hara says.