|Still from War Horse, 2011.|
One of the highlights of my 2010 trip to England was watching the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's beautiful 1982 novel. It was breathtaking to see the life-size horse puppets prance, rear up, and gallop around the stage during the production in the West End. I couldn't believe how much emotion they (and their amazing puppeteers) were able to draw out from the audience. It was one of the most vivid examples of the sort of investment--that feeling of being gathered into, enfolded within, drawn to grant one's care and attention to something--that great drama and great literature can inspire in us.
I will be waiting (patiently!) to see the film version when it debuts here in the U.S. Regardless of the film's living up to my high hopes, though, my encounter with War Horse on the page and on the stage has been a fascinating one and I highly recommend the book and the play. They both illuminate the role of animals who served in the Great War--a deeply important aspect of the history of this conflict and one to which I will return in later posts.
© Fiona Robinson