Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So I saw War Horse...

Thanks to Lincoln Center's wonderful LincTix program, I was able to see the hottest straight play on Broadway for only $30. I mostly wanted to see War Horse because I had heard a lot about it being a great production of a not-so-great play and I couldn't complain about it winning the Tony without having seen it. And I also wanted to see the horses.

Well, now that I've seen it, I'm not as angry about it winning best play as I thought I'd be, though I think all the plays that were nominated were better written (as was Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo, which wasn't even nominated, and I encourage you all to see before it closes). Yes, War Horse has a simple story and it's emotionally manipulative. But, I wouldn't say it was a bad play. The dialogue wasn't cringe-worthy, though parts of it were slow. And even though I was aware of being manipulated, I am a sucker for stories about children and their animals. And those horses were just incredible. I started to believe that they were actual horses. The Handspring Puppet Company was totally deserving of a special Tony award for their work on the show.

It turns out I'm most stuck on the Tony award that War Horse won for best scenic design. War Horse didn't have too much of a set, but it did use video projection to great effect. I suppose video projections are considered part of the scenic design and should be, but isn't it time for a separate category for video projection? I also wonder if the puppets were considered part of the scenic design. I don't think they should have been, but I guess there's no way of knowing. Awards are so subjective anyway I suppose it doesn't matter, but if anyone out there has thoughts about what scenic design should entail, please write them in the comments.

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