Most Read Articles>> Zoning board rejects legislation to erase adult businesses from Cheshire Bridge Road
>> John Q Collective uses Cyclorama as metaphor for LGBT migration
>> ‘Shock and disbelief’ after HIV vaccine trial halted
>> It gets better, right here at home
>> Local couple gets U.S. Rep. David Scott on record in favor of gay marriage
Texas Bill Would Limit Transgender Marriage Rights
Queerty | 17 May 2013 | 8:24 pm
Everything is bigger in Texas – even the homophobia
LGBTQ Nation | 17 May 2013 | 6:30 pm
Why Do We Defend Discrimination?
The Bilerico Project | 17 May 2013 | 6:00 pm
Big Layoffs At The Village Voice
Joe. My. God. | 17 May 2013 | 5:39 pm
France's Francois Hollande Says He'll Sign Gay Marriage Bill On Saturday
On Top Magazine Headlines | 17 May 2013 | 1:22 pm
|Gay puppeteer helps bring ‘War Horse’ to life at Fox Theatre|
|by Jim Farmer|
|September 27, 2012 10:47|
In the touring version of the universally acclaimed “War Horse” (playing through Sept. 30 at the Fox Theatre courtesy of the Broadway Series) openly gay Jon Riddleberger brings two characters to life – both of them horses.
Based on the children’s book by Michael Morpurgo, adapted into a play by Nick Stafford, “War Horse” has just started its U.S. national tour. After premiering at the Royal National Theatre in London, it came to the States and won a 2011 Tony for Best Play. It’s still playing on Broadway.
“War Horse” opens in England in 1914. At the beginning of World War I, Joey – a horse – is sold to the cavalry. His young owner Albert sets out on a journey to find him and bring him home. During the war, Joey becomes friends with another horse, Topthorn.
At the play’s heart are the life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company.
“It’s a show that utilizes theater at its essence,” Riddleberger says. “It invites the audience to be part of the show. It’s minimalist in its design. The puppets are not realistic. You can look and see that. The show asks the audience to take that last step and believe.”
As an actor and puppeteer, Riddleberger brings the two horses to vivid life.
“This is the first time an animal has been played in a piece of theater, that’s not an animal who sings or speaks,” he says. “They are aesthetically beautiful.”
He says Joey starts as a young, affectionate foal and develops a strong bond with the family’s son. Topthorn, though, is a complete opposite.
“He is trained and bred to be a military horse,” says the performer. “He is statuesque, an alpha male, very aggressive.” He admits it’s a challenge since the two are unique in their personalities, which makes them believable.
The play was turned into a sappy Steven Spielberg film last year but Riddleberger feels the play has a different spin.
“The movie was centered around the boy while the play is first and foremost centered around the horse,” he says. “The movie was a realistic version — you see the horses on a real battlefield. Here we ask the audience to accept what is onstage.”
Ironically, it was Riddleberger’s mother who spurred him to get a part in the production. He saw “War Horse” with her and she later told him, “You should be doing this — why aren’t you?”
He studied at NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing, where he learned puppetry. This is his first national tour.
In addition to being family friendly, he thinks “War Horse” has an appeal to the LGBT community.
“This is a play that blurs the line between right and wrong,” he says. “There is a universal message here — it speaks to everyone. It has an ‘us vs them’ mentality, but the English and the German are seen in the same light. I think for the LGBT community, especially during the gay marriage debate, it can be easy to forgot we are all human beings.”
Top photo: ‘War Horse’ uses minimalist puppets and asks the audience ‘to take the last step and believe,’ according to puppeteer Jon Riddleberger. (via Broadway.com)
Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by ZooTemplate.Com