I lucked into an opening night ticket for War Horse last night in Pittsburgh, and fell in love with "Joey" the horse! I'm not even a horse girl - I'm SUPER allergic. Yet, I was totally sucked into this story and might just be a horse convert.
I thought it was so interesting that there was basically no staging at all - a fence held up by onlookers, or a door hanging in the center of the wall, that was it! A slash of white in the upper 1/3 of the black stage was the only permanent staging and it was all they needed. They projected line drawings depicting landscape and dates onto the "slash" and it was a simple but perfect way to orient me to place and time.
The tender moments between the boy and his horse made me cry and the intense war scenes made me cringe! It's cliche, but I laughed, I cried, I loved it!
The music was a kind of Irish folk song sung by a man who acted as a kind of narrator and pulled the whole thing together. I could have listened to him sing all day...I might have a little crush...
The animals in the play were all puppets, not even full puppets, but like a framework of a puppet that suggested the shape but not meant to look lifelike at all, yet I never doubted the "realness" of Joey in his scenes. Somehow, your mind seems to fill in the gaps in the puppet when you see how realistically the puppeteers move the animals. The swish of the tail and the lift of the chin were so perfectly "horse" that it was all very real to me as I watched.
This play was so different than anything I've ever seen and quickly made it to my Top 10 Fave Shows list!