Can’t get enough War Horse? Horse Nation movie critic Amanda Ronan checks out this behind-the-scenes documentary.
War Horse. It’s a book, it’s a Tony Award winning play, it’s a Spielberg movie. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 12 months, you’ve heard of it, but what you might not have seen is Making War Horse, a behind the scenes documentary of London’s National Theatre’s production.
The documentary details the fascinating way in which the play came to life, including the life size horse puppets created by the Handspring Puppet Company.
The early prototypes were somewhat…well…rudimentary and involved mostly cardboard and duct tape.
But the end results were fantastic!
Close-up the puppets look like some sort of science experiment gone wrong, but once they start moving these things look like horses! One of Joey’s puppeteers gives an amazing example of the 4-beat walk, 2-beat trot, the 3-beat canter, and the full gallop. They also discuss how they brought the horse puppets to life by teaching them to “breathe” (apparently a trademark of the Handspring Puppet Company) and taught the puppeteers to feel the “weight” of the horses so that the movements felt muscled and heavy. Through hours and hours of acting workshops they found it was important not only to move the legs, but to move the tails and ears of the puppets so that they could have ‘personality’ as well. You really have to see the video to respect what this team of people have accomplished.
I give this little documentary 3 out of 4 Golden Horseshoes and hope that one day I will get to see the play performed!