When Richard Griffiths passed away earlier this year, Daniel Radcliffe lead the tributes:
“Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. In August 2000, before official production had even began on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursley’s, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease. Seven years later, we embarked on Equus together. It was my first time doing a play, but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humour made it a joy. Any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever by his presence. I am proud to say I knew him.”
Peter Shaffer’s Equus is a favourite of mine, both on screen and stage. A revival, directed by Thea Sharrock opened at the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in February 2007 and subsequently transferred to the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway, running until February 2009. Daniel received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play.
I did a quick ‘montage’ sketch of Daniel as Alan Strang, the boy who blinds a number of horse with a hoof pick and Richard’s Martin Dysart, a child psychiatrist trying to understand the cause of the boys actions, while wrestling with his own sense of purpose.
In the mayhem that surrounds Daniel I risked damage at this year’s Olivier Theatre Awards at the Royal Opera House to get it signed. Daniel’s signature is always his full name, so that combined with haste to sign as many as possible means the final ‘graph can vary in quality. However, he did take the time to dedicate it to me and seemed genuinely touched by the drawing.
I had also drawn another sketch of just Daniel with Richard behind him, so dropped it into the rehearsal room where Daniel was preparing for The Cripple of Inishmaan (currently in previews at the Noël Coward Theatre). I also enclosed a flyer for him to sign, which he did and sent it back. As you can see, the more ‘relaxed’ ‘graph is a model of legibility.