There is a reason why War Horse has gone mainstream and is sold-out and is becoming a franchise with productions in London, On Broadway, Canada and more coming soon. It’s because is is mind-blowingly brilliant and I cannot believe how lucky I was to have seen it tonight. Yes, the story is so moving, and yes it is the perfect way to show the horror of war, but it has an animal which is a puppet as its lead character. Can you imagine how hard that is to pull off? And it works exactly because after seconds, you are so committed to the heart and soul of this creature you live every breath it takes. So, War Horse suspends your disbelief. And that is theatre. When that happens it is how it is supposed to be.
It is also that brilliant because it started out as an idea that was then allowed to flourish and was cultivated by the National Theatre Studio. It took years. Can you imagine? But that is what the National Theatre Studio does; gives space and money to artists to explore their ideas. Can you believe it? I am wallowing in proper theatre heaven here.
On our tour of The National this afternoon we went onto the set of a production running in the medium sized, proscenium arch theatre. The Veil is set in a crumbling Irish mansion. In an entrance hall that the audience cannot see are tables set with tiny props; a nail set, glasses. The back doors have fake moss underneath them, for the actors. I almost sobbed my heart out at this.
I haven’t slept. I am tired and emotional and completely over excited. Tomorrow there is more. I can hardly believe it.