I went for my first Broadway play since I got here today. And how glad I am that I did.
Yes, I took three hours off in the middle of a crazy schedule to go do something that wasn’t remotely related to journalism or my beat. I went with Mathew, a classmate from JSchool and yes, we walked around marvelling at Lincoln Centre and discussing how incredible the play was for 40 minutes after. Yes, we both have tons of work and yes, it is three am and I’m in school trying to finish work and meet deadlines. War Horse was worth it. All 2 hours and 40minutes of it.
The story is a fairly straightforward one of a boy, Alfred, who gets a horse, Joey, because of his father’s strange ego. Alfred trains Joey, he becomes the most important part of his life in a small village. When the war comes, the two are separated and much of the play is about Alfred’s journey to reunite with Joey.
The play opened with three men playing a horse puppet. I judged the play and that point. It was too hard to believe that the frame was a real horse. Over two hours later, I didn’t even notice the people. I forgot they were there. Joey became so real. I felt for Joey. I hoped he’d reunite with Albert. I leaned forward in my seat and I understood why people around me were tearing up. This I think made the biggest difference for me. This is the first time I’ve changed my mind about
I watched the play and I remembered why I loved theatre as much as I did. It was those moments when sound, light, production, acting and timing sync perfectly. It’s when you watch something and can see the hours that have gone into making it seem effortless. This is what makes theatre so universally appealing, the fact that it combines every emotion perfectly to be engaging on so many levels. The play is not this loud, fancy number that screams to be ‘noticed, it is understated brilliance at best. The play does have technical brilliance, from the revolving stage to the flashing scenes on the screen on top to the rising stage, it all contributes to the play. What I loved about it though was how the technical perfection of the play, did not take away or overwhelm the overall work.
It was a cliche story. There was no real rising or falling action. There was no point the writing floored me. The actors were good, as most on Broadway tend to be. They even over-acted in parts. In every way this play was ordinary but for some reason I left it feeling like I had experienced magic.