I stumbled across this wonderful article about the play WarHorse, currently running in London, in the New York Times theater section.
Set in WWI, the story is told from the horse’s point of view. Casting horses in leading roles necessitates some serious creativity: these are 7′ tall horse puppets. Beautiful and completely amazing. Two puppeteers operate each horse puppet internally, and a third operates the head. Puppet is capable of being ‘ridden’ by an actor. (videos below)
LONDON — On the bare black stage of the New London Theater, a seven-foot-tall horse breaks into a gallop, round and round, until he pauses for a breath, his flanks heaving lightly. A human approaches; the horse, Topthorn, lifts his head, flexes his ears and shakes his tail. His right front hoof paws the floor, as if to charge.
Topthorn is not a real horse, of course, but an intricately constructed puppet in the hit West End play “War Horse.” He and the play’s other main horse puppet, named Joey, are central characters, and they are as much living, breathing and emotionally aware beings as any award-winning actor here today. (The horses’ creators won an Olivier Award for design.)
See the full article about Warhorse, by Patrick Healy. Only one photo was credited. I’m going to assume all photos were taken by the same photographer: Simon Annand.
Go see the slide show, or watch them in action below.