Meet Joey, the star of War Horse
As for creating Joey's voice, Osteen explains: "We get better and better about making our voices horse-like and we are getting better as a unit. A horse's lungs are three times the size of a human's. We make the sound more complex by the way we layer the sounds. In-breath and out-breath sounds are very effective."
The riders placed on top of Joey add extra weight and another element for the puppeteers to juggle. "At the beginning, it felt so heavy. Jessica and I had to figure out how to balance and distribute the weight evenly," Osteen says. "We figured out that if Jessica pushed forward and the rider sits lower, I can be agile. We do move and jump and gallop with a rider and it's all an evolution at getting better at that."
On stage, Krueger and Osteen must communicate physically instead of verbally. "When we are miked, I can't speak English because if I did it would be terrible for the audience, so we have to communicate physically. That can be a matter of throwing a hip out, or shrugging," says Krueger.
"We started two months before production and we absorbed each other's thinking patterns," Riddleberger says. "We have developed a strange sixth sense, and can sense when one of us is about to move. What the Denver audience is seeing now is very different from what the audiences saw when we opened in Los Angeles. We've changed our vocabulary, we've added stuff, and we've removed stuff. We simplify some movements, and complicate others. The process is growing. We have been encouraged by our director, and others to continue to evolve."
Krueger adds: "Being able to grow is one of the most rewarding parts of this role for me; being able to switch things up. To have that freedom to grow and to work with two other people who also want to do that is one of my favorite parts about working with this show."
While the wonders of Joey are incentive enough to see the show, there's the added attraction of two cast members who are Colorado natives. Playing Rose, the mother of Albert, is actress Angela Reed, who attended Ponderosa High before graduating from University of Colorado Boulder. "It's great to come back to Colorado, and rewarding to perform in the Buell," she says. "It feels comfortable and familiar and special. I have family and friends here, so I am excited."
Mat Hostetler plays Veterinary Officer Martin; he went to Glenwood Springs High. "Getting to move to different cities reinvigorates the show every night with a different audience, so we never get bored," he says. "The National Theatre in London thought it would be far too complex to move across the country, but here we are doing it. The show never played to a house bigger than 800 people and now we are able to bring it to audiences over 3,000 people. It feels great."
The two locals will be on tour with this production until June, and then will have to decide if they want to continue for another run. In the meantime, Reed urges, "Come see the show and don't miss this opportunity, because if it ever comes back to Denver, it will be years from now."
War Horse is playing at the Temple Buell Theatre until January 20,2013. Tickets range from $25 to $100 dollars. Click here to purchase tickets.