With its simple and beautiful message, War Horse--whether in the form of a book, a play or a movie--has taken aim on all our hearts.
Fran Jurga, War Horse News
Welcome to the War Horse News blog.
I remember the Sunday morning in 2007 when I was surprised to find myself reading theater news from London: a play called War Horse was opening. It sounded fantastic. I was hungry to know more and more and before I had finished my bagel that morning I was probably War Horse‘s biggest fan…without ever setting foot in a theater.
From far away in Boston, I couldn’t understand quite how the puppets in London worked or how you could possibly stage a play about horses in World War I at all. But I absorbed the story. I channeled the book’s author. From my own knowledge of the history of horses in World War I, I knew already how rich the story could–and must–be.
In 2007: War Horse the play.
What’s a horse-specialist writer to do? Of course I jumped right in at the deep end, hooves first. I took War Horse on as my pet project. Even though I had never been to a play in London. Even though I had never been to the Devon countryside. And even though I’ve certainly never been anywhere near a war. Yet I instinctively understood War Horse from that very first morning I read the hints to the plot in the Telegraph.
Now it’s four years later and War Horse is a hit stage play in London and New York. The book is enjoying a second coming. And the film is about to roll into cinemas and capture hearts from Amarillo to Zephyr Cove.
It’s such a sensation, it now has its own dedicated blog. And look who’s writing it: The woman who read about the play in her bathrobe. The one who didn’t care that morning that there were bagel crumbs stuck in the keyboard.
Expect to find even more here than the usual fan notes and links and news video clips. Expect to come to understand what the buzz of War Horse–in all its forms–has to do with real horses.
In 1982: the book (Image from Jane Badger Books UK)
For the next few months, this blog and I will keep you on the leading edge of information about the cultural phenomenon known simply as “War Horse”. Whether it is news about the book by Michael Morpurgo, the stage play in London and New York or the dazzling film set to open in the next month in North America and Great Britain, look for information here.
But expect to find even more here than the usual fan notes and links and news video clips. Expect to come to understand what the buzz of War Horse–in all its forms–has to do with real horses. Because most of all, I’ll bring you face to face with “war horse” without any capital letters. You’ll meet the nameless (to us) and all-but-forgotten war horses of World War I as history has recorded them, and as I have managed to discover them from the military history books and old library photo archives. I’ll also introduce you to the individual humans and the charities that worked to assist the war horses, since so many of those generous people have been forgotten now as well.
Horses and humans were never closer than during wars.
Everyone knows by now that War Horse is the story of a boy and a horse and a war. But it is a significant tribute to not just the film-making genius of Steven Spielberg, the clever puppetry of Handspring and the poignant pen of Michael Morpurgo. It’s a tribute to those real war horses (and mules) who paid the ultimate price. We’ll find out how they got there, what happened to them, and perhaps even why it has taken so long for us to salute them, and to understand what their sacrifice meant.
I’ll be your guide. I’m Fran Jurga, a writer who specializes in horses but who has another hoof in history and another in contemporary culture. And the fourth hoof? That one’s planted firmly right at the heart of the matter: how all this history and Hollywood hoopla about War Horse can make us understand more about the horses who inhabit our lives today, who make this world such a beautiful and exciting place to live, and who never fail to teach us so much about ourselves.
Take a deep breath: If even a small dose of enthusiasm in War Horse News rubs off on you, you’re in for a great adventure.
That is really what War Horse–in all its forms–is about. So open up a little, and let the miraculous War Horse into your heart. As Captain Stewart says in the movie: Be brave.
War Horse, a Dreamworks/Disney film directed by Steven Spielberg and featuring a talented cast of humor and equine actors, opens in the USA on Christmas Day.
What to do now: 1) Please bookmark this blog. 2) Subscribe to the RSS feed. 3) Figure out how to read it on your mobile and tablet devices. 4) Follow @warhorsenews on Twitter. 5) “Like” the War Horse News page on Facebook. 6) Circle the War Horse News page on Google Plus. (But the full, real stories and media will be here, on the blog.) Tell your friends. 9) Check back soon and often. 10) Take a deep breath: If even a small dose of my enthusiasm rubs off on you, you’re in for a great adventure and I’m thrilled to share it with you.
Read my rather naive and slightly inaccurate first post about War Horse on The Jurga Report in 2007.
Fran Jurga is a self-employed freelance writer and editor who lives near Boston. She has blogged for and about the 2008 Olympics Equestrian Events, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. Fran’s other current blogs: The Jurga Report on horse health, welfare and culture for EQUUS Magazine and the highly specialized (and often entertaining) Fran Jurga’s Hoof Blog for Hoofcare + Lameness: The Journal of Equine Foot Science.