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Thread: Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

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    ab intra silentio vera paradox's Avatar
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    Default Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

    Impressive or what? I was familiar with Monty Roberts and his work with horses (the movie, The Horse Whisperer, was based on him, even though it isn't very faithful to his techniques). But had no idea he was involved with training the puppet operators of War Horse, the play. If you aren't familiar with Roberts, I highly recommend checking out his web site (http://www.montyroberts.com/) and youtube channel. Personally, I've found his dvds are to be quite enlightening. Puts $cn and its highly-vaunted dreck to shame in so many ways.



    It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.
    You can fool some of the people some of the time -- and that's enough to make a decent living.
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.


    -- W.C. Fields

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    Smile Re: Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

    Thanks for sharing this Doxy!

    I've had the privilege of visiting his lovely Flag is Up Farms just outside of Solvang, Ca. and of getting the benefit of his wisdom firsthand.:

    http://www.montyroberts.com/ab_about_monty/flag__intro/

    He has wonderfully moved beyond just training horses and is also working with troubled youths and "training" those who work with them.

    http://www.montyroberts.com/ab_about_monty/ju_about/

    I just LOVE horses and cannot yet bring myself to see the movie...even though I've heard it's good. I'm too tender-hearted!
    Maybe once it's on dvd and I can see it on a tiny screen and fast forward through the violent parts!

    Great to see his work with the puppeteers involved with the play.

    Thanks Doxy!
    Last edited by SweetnessandLight; 23rd December 2011 at 11:39 PM.
    Yes, you can fly, but first you have to break out of that cocoon. You are capable of self rescue at all times. "Every blade of grass has its own special angel watching over it and whispering, 'grow...grow'." -The Talmud "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be, for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our disposition, and not upon our circumstances." -Martha Washington

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    Default Re: Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

    That is excellent that you were able to visit him. While never interacting with him personally, all I can say is that his presentation, his material, is superb and, quite so, not "just" for horses. The language of Equus. The broader implications of it. I guess I simply ran across it at the right moment in my life. It meant/means a lot to me.

    I should have included this information below (from his mailing list) with the vid but was so excited at running across the background (i.e. the original play and Roberts's involvement) to what will surely be another blockbuster movie hit for Spielberg & Co that I forgot.

    I know what you mean about seeing the movie. Not sure I'm ready for that either, it's sure to be an emotional roller coaster.


    The request for me to assist the authors of War Horse, the play, came as a huge surprise while I was on tour in England. The message said that the authors had used my books as a road map to the stage production which chronicles the challenges horses faced in assisting English armies to fight World War I. It was an exciting message and one which opened a subject for me that I had never dreamed would come my way.
    Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts
    The request was to train the cast regarding how to operate the 1 life size equine puppets created to play the roles of the War Horses. One should know that the cast was 100% city raised individuals most of which had never even touched a horse. I remember the first day so well and the feeling that this was an impossible task and that I never should have accepted this challenge because after one day I was convinced that it would end in failure.

    After 3-4 days, while we achieved some progress, I strongly felt that the best outcome would be a short play run, completed without extreme embarrassment. I kept telling myself "We can get through this but it probably won't be pretty." In the second week of my work (another 3-4 days) I saw something happening. These young men were beginning to understand the language, Equus. I thought, maybe we've got a chance.


    These were fit young men; three puppet operators per horse. What became obvious was that they came into my life as a clean slate. They didn't have any preconceived notions about how horses moved or what motivated them to act in any particular way. They began to operate as a unit and as one actor put it, "Monty taught us the language and we began to move organically." He was so right, as I watched them depart from the script.


    In the third week I asked them to visualize in their minds a school of fish and how this cloud-like structure took on different shapes, silently and without great fanfare. These young men began to work without cues. One was on the head, one on the shoulders and four legs while the third operated the rear quarters. Imagine the challenges of putting that all together and making it look like a real horse. I saw it happen. I didn't make it happen.

    War Horse on Channel 4 Racing from Cheltenham
    Later I was asked to do a platform performance with a live horse called American Pie owned by Kelly Marks. The theatre was sold out when Pie met Joey, the star puppet. It was incredible to watch Pie believe that Joey was a live horse. The ears moved, the legs moved, the neck got longer and shorter, lower and higher and Pie reacted exactly as if he was with a real horse in a field somewhere. I was blown away with the sense of reality the cast had created.

    After the platform performance and I met theater goers in the lobby for a signing and to answer questions. They consistently said that 10 minutes into the play they discarded all ideas that these were puppets. They told me that they came to believe they were real horses on a real battlefield. Please put yourself in my place and try to imagine how gratifying this journey was becoming. Time would prove we had a runaway hit on our hands.


    Subsequent to the opening, I have seen about five full performances with three separate casts involved. In every instance I saw people crying big tears down their faces. I recall saying to one lady "They're just puppets." She told me to be quiet and leave her alone with her thoughts about this wonderful species called Equus. I gave her a hug and followed her advice. She was giving me the greatest gift I could imagine. I was quick to apologize.

    While I was not involved for one moment with the movie, it is my hope that Mr. Spielberg will experience the same level of gratification that I did with his production. Before my experience, I would have easily said that it would be far more challenging to do on a stage with puppets than to do with real horses on open fields. I am not so sure about that statement at this point in time. With that in mind I plan to see it as soon as possible.


    Sincerely,

    Monty Roberts

    It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.
    You can fool some of the people some of the time -- and that's enough to make a decent living.
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.


    -- W.C. Fields

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    Default Re: Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

    I've seen those puppeteers working with War Horse. Exquisite!
    Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away.

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    Default Re: Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

    Quote Originally Posted by smartone View Post
    I've seen those puppeteers working with War Horse. Exquisite!
    I doubt that the west Texas (usa) desert is very high on the play circuit for its performance but if it ever does get this way ....
    It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.
    You can fool some of the people some of the time -- and that's enough to make a decent living.
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.


    -- W.C. Fields

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    Thumbs up Re: Experiencing War Horse with Monty Roberts

    Or Southern California, for that matter...but you never know!

    I will be sure and see the play if it comes here to So Cal.
    Yes, you can fly, but first you have to break out of that cocoon. You are capable of self rescue at all times. "Every blade of grass has its own special angel watching over it and whispering, 'grow...grow'." -The Talmud "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be, for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our disposition, and not upon our circumstances." -Martha Washington

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