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War Horse Premieres At Bass Concert Hall

Updated: Monday, June 2 2014, 10:33 PM CDT

A big surprise on Tuesday for horses with the Austin Police Mounted Patrol. Four police horses took it all in stride when they were introduced to "Joey." He's the star of the play, War Horse, which premieres Tuesday night at Bass Concert Hall.           

Three very fit puppeteers create "Joey" and each is cast for a specific role in bringing the 120 pound horse puppet to life. 

"The head puppeteer needs to be thoughtful and curious. The heart puppeteer needs to be reliable and a great conduit of information from the head to the hind. The hind puppeteer needs to be able to drive the horse forward," said Greg Manley, the hind puppeteer. 

Tickets are available for War Horse will be featured at Bass Concert Hall from May 6 - 11.  

Joey Facts & Figures

  •  Joey weighs 120lbs and is handmade by 14 people. Its frame is mostly cane, soaked, bent and stained.

  •  An aluminum frame along the spine, lined partly with leather for comfort, allows the horse to be ridden.

  • Stretched, hosiery-like Georgette fabric makes up the "skin" beneath the frame.

  • A puppeteer at the head controls the ears and head; one in the heart controls breathing and front legs; a third in the hind controls the tail and back legs.

  •  A harness connects the puppet's and puppeteer's spines so his or her movements become the breathing of the horse.

  • The tail and ears are moveable instead of the lips or eyelids, because that's how horses usually express themselves.

  • Two levers connected with bicycle brake cables control the leather ears.

  • The puppet, just under 10ft long and about 8ft tall, has about 20 major joints. Vertical levers curl the knees and lift the hooves.

  • The neck is made of carbon fiber glass for flexibility.

  • The eyes are black color behind clear resin so light refracts through them.

  • The right hind lever moves the tail up and down; the left hind lever, left to right; moved together, it spirals.

  • The hair in the mane and tail is made of Tyvek, a plastic-like paper.


War Horse Premieres At Bass Concert Hall

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