The third play PJ and I saw in London was War Horse, which is based on a children’s book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo. It relates the story of a horse who is sold to the British cavalry at the beginning of World War I. The tale of this one horse becomes a meditation on the inhumane treatment of horses during the war. Here’s the “trailer”:

This preview gives you a little taste of what makes this production so amazing: the puppetry, which was designed by the Handspring Puppet Company. All of the horses in the show are puppets, but the amazing part is that you quickly forget that these horses are puppets and not real horses. They really seem to emote and to move like real horses. It’s amazing that these puppeteers can make you care about puppets in this way! PJ and I were both astounded by this aspect of the play. It’s the magic of theater at its best.

War Horse starts with young Albert being assigned to help raise a horse, Joey, that his drunken father has spent all of the family’s money buying just to spite his brother. When war is declared, the drunken father sees a chance to make a quick buck and sells Joey to the cavalry. Albert swears that he will find him again and bring him home.

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