Sunday, September 11, 2011

War Horse. And the National Theater, and Other Stuff. (like proms in the park)

I felt so British-ness soaked after all this. It was fantastico.

Well, Uncle Dan and I saw War Horse. Synopsis: Follow endearing horse named Joey through childhood, WWI, and happy ending. In case you see it, I shall elaborate no more.

Are there theater lovers among you? Because the technology, the artistry, the design, was goose-bumpy. Goose-bumpy I tell you. The main character is a horse. Now, in a movie, no problem. Get a smarter-than-average horse. Theater, not so easy.

Solution: Life-sized horse puppets. And I don't mean animatronic puppets either. These were old-fashioned puppets, with people inside them. They are made of cane, wire, gauze, leather, who knows what other ingenious things, and look like so (not my picture):

The actors can ride them, their ears move, their legs look like horse legs, basically they're incredibly lifelike. The puppeteers did such a good job of giving this (sort of) inanimate thing a personality that you forgot they were there. Even, oddly, the man who stands beside the head the whole show through and works the neck, mouth and ears. I wanted to find those individuals afterwards and tell them what a phenomenal job they did, but I couldn't remember their faces, which was as it should be.

Also, there was a nearly full-size tank. I almost fell out of my seat. Did I mention it was a front-row seat? I kept being afraid something was going to hit me in the face, and simultaneously being really amazed and happy.

Side note: The whole story was good, a fairly family-friendly tale, but it interested me most, when the sidekick horse died. Why? Well, when he dies, the puppeteers inside stop moving, then slowly, reverently extract themselves and back away into the shadows of the wings. It was a strikingly good expression of death: the animating thing, your mind, your soul, pulls itself out, leaving only a puppet.

If you have any chance at all, see it. Was well worth the while.

Next morning, Dan took us to a backstage tour of the National Theater, which was impressive, but too long to blog in detail.

then Proms in the Park.

Guys, Brits are funny.

They seem so reserved sometimes. But get them a little music, a little patriotism, some grumpy weather, and they are an entirely different bunch. Long story short, we sat on the grass in Hyde Park and listened to live music for six hours on a windy, drizzly, typical London evening. There were 30,000 people there, if I heard aright. The music varied widely, and was mostly excellent. at the end, everybody sang together, and waved flags, and cheered, and were patriotic. And yes, I sang Rule Brittania along with everyone else. When in Rome. Don't forget who brought you.

however, I did sing the first verse of God Save The Queen as My Country Tis Of Thee, just for kicks, then gave in and switched to the former, which ALWAYS, always makes me think of The Sex Pistols. Yet another reason I'm ok with pretending I'm a Brit for a bit.

Cider and crisps. They go together verra nice. Now I'm hungry.

Here's all the flags and hullabaloo.

That's enough blogging for tonight. There is homework to be done and tea to be consumed. Tomorrow, we post about Brick Lane, the ever-present clothes, and hipsters. London hipsters, to be precise.

Good night, errybuddy.


Crazy mom said...

Can I be jealous of you going to Hyde Park?? I wanna goooooooo!

Ellie said...

I want to see War Horse so badly! It's coming to MInneapolis next summer I believe. We should go when it comes.