“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
– Oscar Wilde
We did manage to cram in two shows on our hectic house hunt from Hades, and thank goodness otherwise I might have staged a minor revolt. We saw “The Mousetrap,” because I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie and “War Horse.”
Indulge me minions, but I’m issuing you an order. If ever, ever you get the opportunity to see “War Horse,” do it. Drop whatever amount of money, take whatever roadtrip necessary, hitchhike to the theatre if you must, but see this play. It is hands down the best production I have ever seen in my life. It is one of those rare productions that the acting was excellent, the plot was good, but combined with the creative, it was stunning!
It tells the story of a English farm boy and his beloved horse who is sold to the cavalry just before WWI (when tanks and machine guns were about to break the world apart). The problem the producers had to solve was how to make a play where the main character is a horse when having an actual horse in a play is simply not possible. The solution they came up with is spectacular: they employed the Handspring Puppet Company from South Africa to develop puppets for the animal, and even some of the human characters.
Before you roll your eyes and picture a bunch of cheap marionettes, you need to see what HPC came up with. Here’s a TED Talk about the development and creation of Joey the War Horse, watch it and you’ll see what a feat they pulled off. Out of plastic, wood, and some easy mechanics, they created a living animal.
Pardon my enthusiasm, but it really is that incredible. It’s currently playing in London and New York (watch the previews to get a sense of the feel and creative of the play), but next year it’s going to start a national tour of the US. Apparently Spielberg has bought the rights and is making it into a movie, which I’m sure will be the new Black Beauty, or whatever, but I think that books, theatre, and movies are entirely different mediums and hit different chords in our psyche. Enjoy the movie, by all means, but if you ever get the chance, see the play.