On Stage: War Horse

They shoot horses when they get old or loose a limb, according to an old saying. With a plot as old as time, this New London Theatre play did not succeed in hitting any emotional high notes.

War Horse Poster

The play is based on the same-titled novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford. Situated in rural Devon, a young boy named Albert forms and unbreakable bond with Joey, his beloved horse. But when his father sells Joey to the British cavalry right before World War I, the horse finds itself on the front line, serving for both the British and the German army. Despite his young age, Albert joins the army to reunite with his horse and bring it home.

 

According to the official website, War Horse is described as “the international smash-hit stage production”. Suitable for ten year olds, as it signifies right below. At least, they warn the audience right from the homepage!

Still not convinced enough, on a cold Wednesday evening we strolled down Drury Lane, in hope for a heart-warming feel-good play, focused on the First World War’s loss of men, animals and dignity, but it turned out that it was only a loss of time.

The primary storyline was about a boy who lost his little horse in the war and joined the army to retrieve it. Without a hint of realism or common sense, the play made it clear enough that you should value a horse’s life more than your own child’s. With the necessary hint of romance and many unnecessary hints of German culture, it took almost three hours to locate the horse across-stage, the same amount of time that Frodo took to carry the Ring from Hobbiton to Mordor via Minas Tirith!

2011 London Cast

by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

 
If it weren’t for the talented Handspring Puppet Company, there would be no other reason to spend the –thankfully- moderate 15£. The animal puppets were crafted to perfection, with strips of leather hanging gracefully from their bronze skeleton sheltering the heart and soul of their existence; talented young actors carrying a huge burden on their backs, to bring this story to life.

But not all actors were carefully chosen. The boy’s mother was young enough to play his sister, while the French girl, with whom the protagonist falls in love, was old enough to play his aunt! As for the father, he probably needed a sip of real scotch in order to play a drunken gambler.

War Horse is not a musical, even though there are a couple of well played songs here and there to either warm up the audience or mourn over Joey’s loss, making watching the play more bearable.

However, that feeling is completely lost at the second part of the play, where the German army takes charge. The actor who was playing the surgeon was physically a perfect candidate for the role, but delivering a half-German-half-English script was not his forte. For most of the time, we couldn’t understand a word.

Overall, War Horse is only good for you if you’re a ten year old, a student procrastinating to the core, or a bored old couple who’s dinner at the local bridge club was cancelled.

A drink on Sky

“Welcome, have a drink on us” is the greeting tagline on the voucher you get handed by the receptionist along with your pass at Sky News.

This time I’m not here to drop CVs accidentally. I am a visitor, and such I’ll probably remain.

Sarah Whitehead, head of home news at Sky, kindly showed us around and let us dream for a little while how to turn the tags hanging from our necks from orange to blue; orange you’re leaving, blue you’re staying.

Sky News

During our guided tour and while Sarah was greeting us on the newsroom/studio mezzanine, I kept on thinking of the effort put in TV journalism as alike to the vital functions of the human body.

The audience is located on the feet, not because many times TV can cross the line and step on it, but due to the fact that the feet move the body and take it from place to place. The topics are formed and followed according to the audience’s preference.

Then, you have the kidneys that filter our daily intake and transform it into beneficial substance. In the newsroom, it’s the various desks. International, domestic, current affairs…. you name it. Scouting the wires, these editors decide on what’s vital for the viewers’ breakfast, lunch and dinner. No toxins for the body, no trash in the news.

Moving to the upper part of the body it’s the lungs. There are the execs along with the financial directors. Without cash no reporter moves, no bookings are made and no stories are reported. Fresh reporting air comes in a price. In pounds.

Having mentioned the reporters, I couldn’t place them elsewhere but the hands. They are the ones reaching for the story, even if the body -aka the audience- has to stand on its toes. ‘Extending’ on all parts of the world, they keep the balance of the moving corpse. They are the ones who lean on the wall and lift it up if it falls.

Finally, it’s the lips, the eyes and the brain. The head of our model is the presenter’s desk. Powdered to the nines, the gallery -the eyes-  conceals any dark spot of the surface, whispering the next line to the presenter’s ear.

But in the end, it’s the presenter that speaks the words, transmits the message, consolidates and informs.

photo: Vyara Pancheva

photo: Vyara Pancheva

At the moment of our visit, David Bowden was looking at the changing facts of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

During a commercial break we sneaked in the studio for a peek of the setting and the map.

 
After that, in an informal Q&A, Sarah clarified that it takes time, experience and guts to set foot on the door of Sky News. To get a ‘visa’ to the land of plenty you need a British passport. With that comes the accent and the audience’s sympathy.

As for me… I’ll probably return for the latte!

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PS: Visit Vyara’s blog, a Beetle fanatic that knows what she writes about!

100 Happy Days!

Can you really be happy for 100 Days? No! 

This was my answer to any photo-challenge invitation before. But, this time it is not a snapshot of your favourite shoes, your breakfast or your newly polished nails petting your cat.

Unless all the above make you truly happy!

It seems different this time, though… Challenging my emotions in a photo-challenge under a deeper yet broader spectrum is exactly what I am looking for!

My chosen medium is Instagram, so click on the Instagram icon on the sidebar connect and keep up with the challenge progresses and share my daily source of happiness!