So next month Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter movies, will appear onstage at London’s Gielgud Theatre as Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer’s Equus.
When this was announced months back, I was impressed by his moxie. It’s an incredibly difficult role. But as the production nears, grumblings about the play’s nude scenes have been popping up in fan sites and blogs. The ignorance of this misplaced Puritanism truly, truly annoys me.
Here are two quotes from a Potter fansite frequently quoted in news reports:
“We as parents feel Daniel should not appear nude. Our nine-year-old son looks up to him as a role model. We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes,” one parent wrote.
Another said: “I am curious as to how and why his parents said this was okay.”
Hmm. Where to begin… Daniel Radcliffe is an actor. He is challenging himself and one does that by tackling challenging roles. Equus is a modern classic. It’s also a play. If you don’t want your child to see Daniel Radcliffe nude, don’t take the kid to the Gielgud Theatre for the next few weeks. It’s that simple; problem solved. If you don’t want your child to know Harry Potter is not a real person, but a character played by an actor with a career, then you’ve got problems more serious than I am qualified to solve.
As far as how/why his parents could allow it, it’s possible that they are aware this role is one of the “big ones” in the last 40 years of plays — not trying for a role like this would be like an actor not trying out for Stanley Kowalski because SK rapes someone (I won’t say who so as not to spoil it for all the young children who haven’t seen A Streetcar Named Desire). Perhaps they realize that if he pulls off a role like this successfully, it will ultimately mean more for his future acting career than all 7 Harry Potter films put together. Perhaps they realize he’s beyond the age of consent and doesn’t actually need their permission.
I get the feeling that most people complaining about Radcliffe taking this role haven’t the faintest fucking clue about theatre. After all, I’ve yet to read one complaint like, “We as parents feel Daniel shouldn’t stab six horses in the eyes with a metal spike.”
In less annoying theatre news, here’s a website about a campaign to transform a dilapidated military fort into a performing arts and education center — The New Globe Theatre.