Sunday, December 9, 2012

Better than real

What is it about an impressionistic painting that captures something a photograph misses? Well, that's part of the magic of theater. It was my great privilege to see "War Horse" at Wharton Center on Saturday and it is beyond-belief fabulous. Yes, these are puppet horses, with puppetteers in plain sight. And yes, this is an epic story of war and destruction, spanning years and battlefields and several different countries. And yes, it is all done with a minimal set. And yet, it is so real. So heartbreakingly real. In the climactic moment when a German soldier and a British soldier come out of their fox holes and work together to free a horse tangled in the barbed wire, I cried like I never cried at a movie. I cried for the injured horse and for all the soldiers in all the senseless wars.  I love laughing in the theater, and I laughed at spots in War Horse. But when a play can make me cry, that's real. That's better than real.

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