Well, he wanted to do something a tad different from Harry Potter. I remember the original version of this movie, originally starring Richard Burton as the psychiatrist, and Peter Firth as the young man. I was in my last year of William and Mary. My room mate at the time (who is now a psychiatrist) and I invited three of our best friends over to watch the VHS version, all of us seated on the floor in our un-furnished apartment (it did have a chair, a table, a lamp and a TV that sat on the floor).
We found it totally captivating, and I am sure set the tone for a lot of long therapeutic discussions in our professional futures (Richard Burton, for instance, taught us that giggling or looking incredulously at your patient limits the therapeutic outcome).
Over the years, I have tried to show that VHS version of Equus to a variety of folks, and none ever got as much as the five of us did. I am sure this new version will be just as significant and competent as earlier film version. I would love to see the play in person.
A former teacher of mine was telling me he had seen the play at William and Mary, and that no one had told him or his date that there would be so much nudity, or that the basis for the psychosis would be so dramatic and shocking. I remember him telling me that, after having a nice dinner at The Trellis in Colonial Williamsburg, they walked to campus and were perplexed when there were signs taped secretively at the hall entrance, which led the hushed patrons around a back door and down a dark stairwell and into a smaller theater in the basement. My teacher said that the stage was very small, and that the stage was completely surrounded on all sides by the audience. At one point, the actor (now played by Dan Radcliffe but then played by one of William and Mary's theater students I suppose) threw himself into the small aisle between the seats, such that he and his date were basically sitting right next to this screaming, crying, hypnotized -- and completely naked -- college-aged actor.
I once attended a drag show in Washington DC, and one of the drag queens got a hilarious kick out of sitting on my lap backwards, and shoving her fake boobs all over my face. For a moment, I thought I would be suffocated and die. I could barely breathe, due to a combination of being sat on and laughing hysterically. And I was spending a lot of my cognitive powers trying to figure out if the boobs were real. Not paying attention, I gave her a $20 tip (don't ask where I put it) and almost didn't have cab fare back to our hotel.