Warhorse: The Puppeteers
From South Africa, via London, comes Warhorse, the extraordinarily successful theater and puppetry collaboration between Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet Company and the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. Warhorse is based on the celebrated novel by British writer Michael Morpurgo. Set in World War I, the novel speaks of the immense slaughter of soldiers on all sides told from the perspective of an English farm horse. It will be presented at Lincoln Center through April 2011.
Winners of Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for this piece, the founders of the company, Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, converse here on puppetry. They specifically focus on puppetry as a contemporary medium of communication and advocacy, and look at The Object as Verb, Movement as Thought as well as The Authorial Audience.
The extraordinary success of Warhorse has drawn attention to Handspring’s decades-long experiments and innovations in the art of puppetry and their remarkable contribution to theater in South Africa. Handspring Puppet Company was founded by Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Jill Joubert and Jon Weinberg in 1981. They have produced eleven plays and two operas, collaborated with many different artists including Mali’s Sogolon Puppet Troupe and South African artist William Kentridge, and appeared in over 200 venues in South Africa and abroad.
Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, Handspring Puppet Company
Yvette Christianse, Visiting Associate Professor English & Africana Studies, Barnard College
Dan Hurlin, Puppeteer