Perhaps I’m a little jaded, but this play didn’t shock me like I thought it was trying to. The description of the book references a truly horrific act, but all he did was blind some horses with a hoof pick. Not that it’s just normal to do that, but I was expecting something more than that. There’s also some masturbation alluded to while riding horses, but it’s never explicit.
It was written 40 years ago, so I’m sure at the time it was incredibly shocking, but in a post-South Park world, it takes a lot more to make me think – wow, that’s too much. This play just didn’t elicit much of a reaction at all from me other than – well, that was weird. Maybe I would feel differently if I had seen it performed, but I really don’t know. I felt like I could picture it well enough. The central problem of the plot wasn’t very well defined to me. There’s a lot of man pain and religious imagery that seems like the ghost of a story but not quite it exactly.
The only time that the story feels real to me is when the psychiatrist, Dysart, reveals that even though his wife is boring and passionless and their marriage is pretty much just a case of roommate syndrome, he concedes that maybe it’s just as much his fault as hers. But Alan’s plot, about whether or not his mental instability is caused by religion or one of his parents, or just the “devil”, is pretty boring. Maybe because it’s really trope-y, or maybe because I just don’t care about Alan and his family life. Part of it can also be because I don’t relate to the religious fervor and how Alan twists the things that his mom tells him about it. It doesn’t seem believable that Alan would hear some Bible verses and get it in his head that he needs to bow down to a horse god and chant to it in his bedroom at night.
The twist at the end (if you can even call it that) was just some more “meh” to me. I find it hard to summon any kind of passion one way or the other toward this play.
This book fulfills the play requirement for the challenge.