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War Horse is a Masterpiece of Stagecraft

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This past week, Melodi and I had a double date with our husbands to see War Horse at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Before seeing the show, we enjoyed dining at the nearby restaurant, Scott’s Restaurant and Bar. Dinner was just the beginning of a wonderful night out in Orange County.

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Before the performance, the lobby had an in-depth display of WWI memorabilia that had enhanced our experience at the theatre.

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The Tony award winning show, War Horse, was a powerful and moving performance. War Horse is based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford. It is directed by Bijan Sheibani based on the original Tony Award-winning direction by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company.

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When I wrote War Horse, I was very interested in writing a story which somehow expressed the universal suffering that went on in the war” Michael Morpurgo, The Horse’s Mouth

The puppets bring a thrilling performance to the stage with realistic breathing and galloping. Theatre goers find themselves right on the front lines of WWI. The pain, suffering and heroism of the men who fought for our freedom was displayed in the spellbinding performance by the cast.

War horse Segerstrom Center for the Arts

photo courtesy of Brinkhoff and Mogenburg

The puppets and the puppeteers become one while on the stage during the performance. The South African based Handspring Puppet Company, one of the greatest puppetry companies in the world, spent years designing the puppets for War Horse. The puppeteers trained  to “think like a horse” during hours of physically grueling rehearsals before breathing life into the puppets on stage.

War Horse Facts about the main puppet and character, Joey.

  • Joey weighs 120 pounds and is handmade by 14 people
  • A puppeteer at the head controls the ears and the head; one in the heart controls the breathing and the front legs; a third in the hind controls the tail and back legs.
  • A harness connects the puppet’s and puppeteer’s spines so his or her movements become the breathing of the horse.
  • The 10 feet long and 8 foot tall puppet has 20 major joints.
  • The hair in the mane and tail is made of Tyvek, a plastic-like paper.

War Horse is currently at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts from January 22nd through February 3rd. Tickets are available online, at the box office or by calling 714-556-2787. Ticket prices are starting at $44.50 per person, and there is limited military rush tickets available.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.

Disclosure: We were provided with media tickets and dinner for the show. All our thoughts and opinions are of our own.

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