Sunday, August 18, 2013

War Horse: Behind the Scenes

Yesterday my friend Emma and I got up bright and early (well, I did anyway) to go to the New London Theatre where the extremely popular War Horse is currently showing. Assistant Puppetry Director, Jimmy Grimes, gave a really insightful talk about the development of the puppetry used in the story and, along with the very talented puppeteers, provided a demonstration of how Joey, the star of the show, is brought to life.

The amount of research, thought, and detail, that has gone in to the way horses move, their behaviour, and the noises they make, is staggering, and at just £4 a ticket it was an absolute privilege to hear what Jimmy had to say and to see the professionals at work. It was eye opening how an initially inanimate object can be made to seem so life like, but they pull it off with bucket loads of precision and competency. I've not yet seen the show, but I cannot wait to do so after the all too brief behind the scenes glimpse.

Unusually we were allowed to take photos of Joey on this occasion, although if you do go to see the show bear in mind it is not permitted during the actual performances. I took a couple of short videos which are below so you can see just what I mean when I say how clever and masterful the puppeteers are. You may have to turn your volume up if you want to hear Jimmy.

Here is Joey getting to know an audience member

The puppeteers show how Joey trots and gallops

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