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Puppeteers on their Tony-winning "War Horse"

07-04-2011 09:13 BJT

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The star of this year's Tony-winning play "War Horse" was not an actor, but a puppet. Actually, it's a whole "cast" of puppets designed by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa.

Recently, directors Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler spoke of their realistic creations that perform side-by-side with their human co-stars.

Based on the best-selling 1982 children's novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford, "War Horse" tells the story of the friendship between an English farm boy and his clever horse Joey set against the backdrop of World War I.

Adrian Kohler said, "The story is set at a very interesting time historically when machines took over from animals and people and they mechanized war which the first World War represented. It was a great shift in the way warfare was run and I think that it resonates with everybody."

The puppeteers - three for the big horses, one or two for the others - provide the whinnies, snorts and snuffles of the animal in such an astonishingly lifelike way that their human manipulators - visible in period clothing - melt away.

Basil Jones said, "We kind of never underestimate the intelligence of the audience and we never underestimate the perspicacity of the audience. The audience ability to see very tiny things and I think that's one of the secrets of this production is that we really trust that the audience will see everything that we do as puppeteers."

The cast of 35 includes people - British, German, soldier and civilian - and puppeteers who manipulate four horses; some actors pull double duty as both horse and human.

The show opened in 2007 at the National Theatre of Great Britain and transferred to the West End two years later, where it is still selling out.

 

Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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