Come on home…

…The poppies all are grown knee-deep by now.

I got to see a free West End show tonight. Daria texted me that her class had 3 extra tickets for War Horse, so I grabbed one and we all got to the Drury Lane theatre on time.

Act one was exceptional. Character exposition was okay, but I was so impressed with the horse puppets. (Each puppet took three people to control, and you could ride on them too.) I can’t imagine how long it took to block the play or how many times they had to perfect the movements and tics of the horses.
One of the characters was blown off his horse by a “mortar shell” at the end of act one, and I loved the way it was done: a flash, blackout, and then you see him backflip off of the horse, aided by a four-person lift. 

For a minimalistic play, it was well done.
war-horse

Act two had a bit of unnecessary drama in it, but I can understand why: to wrap up the “heartfelt story part” of the play and make trench warfare a little more realistic. It was mostly climax and then no denouement, which left the Goldsmiths kids feeling bored. To really appreciate the play, it had to be viewed on at least three different levels: historical, theatrical entertainment, and the technical employment of the puppets/body language of the characters. (You gradually forgot that the horses were being controlled by 3 people. Those guys deserve an award– they had the toughest job of anyone on stage.)

The stage itself was unusually wide, and all black with a large horizontal ripped screen of white paper, which projected the countryside on it. Alternately, it showed the war charges or other extraneous information. I guess you could say the ripped paper representated a pure thing that can never be made whole again. You could say that.
Horse puppets, I already talked about. Loved ’em. During one part of act two, they brought on their interpretation of a tank which must’ve taken at least 6 people to manipulate. Very cool.
war horse

It really made me appreciate WWI like nothing else ever has before. (History Channel, my father, history classes, etc.) WWII wasn’t the only war ever fought that was atrocious, you know. WWI’s where everything changed. Try picturing riding a horse into a wall of machine guns, tear gas, and mortar rounds, armed only with a sabre and 140 rounds on a shitty rifle. And those who didn’t die came back like ghosts. 

Someone in our party said they felt no emotional connexions to the characters; you really had to forge ahead and make your own rather than have it shoved in your face, particularly in act one. Act two had more opportunity to connect, but it might’ve been too comical to take seriously.
Music was okay although, again, someone said it was too dramatic. He compared it to Howard Shore’s score for The Lord of the Rings. I disagree. A lot of the music were war marches from WWI.
Also, it was neat that part of the play was in three different languages and I understand all of the French and German. Yeah, I’m proud. Deal with it.

People around me kept hacking and sneezing and it made me want to puke. Completely distracting when I’m trying to watch this play. Both of the girls next to me kept coughing wetly in my direction when they weren’t twirling their hair or talking about what they ate for lunch or how hot the room was.
It was distracting and it was rude. A large group of disinterested young people. They’re the ones who have to discuss the play in their class. I kind of want to go back and see it again.

Overall, I left the theatre feeling enlightened, alarmed and disturbed at the general lack of intelligence in my age group, and more than a little disgusted at how many germs were coating my body.
I was pissed off by how bored the girls next to me were, and everyone’s general agreement that it was “ok” and not “important.” Then I was pissed at myself for feeling the need to be the devil’s advocate for this play.

To make matters worse, I experienced trouble with my Oyster cards in Holborn, so I assumed people went on without me and I set out by myself, relieved. I understand I was being irritable, but I couldn’t take another minute of farting around with 1) people I’ve spent the last twelve days with or 2) the girls who kept coughing on me / being baselessly judgemental.

“Why are people partying more than usual today?”
“Oh, it’s that veterans day… What they were talking about in the theatre before.”

ARMISTICE.
Idiots. Jesus Christ.

During the curtain call, all of the actors came out wearing their poppies in support of the British legion. This was a little disorienting, as I remembered the poppies from French Canada referring to secession.

I am so tired of being a part of a group.
I need serious alone time.
However, blogging about my Euro-trip is not on my agenda.

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