From South Africa, via London, comes Warhorse, the extraordinarily successful theater and puppetry collaboration between Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet Company and the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. Warhorse is based on the celebrated novel by British writer Michael Morpurgo. Set in World War I, the novel speaks of the immense slaughter of soldiers on all sides told from the perspective of an English farm horse. It will be presented at Lincoln Center through June 26, 2011.

Winners of Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for this piece, the founders of the company, Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, converse with South African-born poet, author and scholar Yvette Christiansë, and puppeteer Dan Hurlin on puppetry. They focus on puppetry as a contemporary medium of communication and advocacy, and look at The Object as Verb, Movement as Thought as well as The Authorial Audience.

Come hear writer, curator and scholar Jane Taylor speak on Tuesday April 12, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Cabinet. Taylor has worked with Handspring in developing two major works: the script for Ubu and the Truth Commission and the libretto for The Confessions of Zeno.

The extraordinary success of Warhorse has drawn attention to Handspring’s decades-long experiments and innovations in the art of puppetry and their remarkable contribution to theater in South Africa. Handspring Puppet Company was founded by Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Jill Joubert and Jon Weinberg in 1981. They have produced eleven plays and two operas, often directly addressing pressing political concerns such as the proceedings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They have collaborated with many artists including Mali’s Sogolon Puppet Troupe and South African artist William Kentridge, and have appeared in over 200 venues in South Africa and abroad.

The New School event is co-sponsored by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design.

Participants:

At The New School:
Yvette Christiansë, Visiting Professor of Africana Studies, Barnard College, and Associate Professor of English, Fordham University
Dan Hurlin, puppeteer and Director of the Graduate Program in Theater, Sarah Lawrence College
Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, Handspring Puppet Company

At Cabinet:
Jane Taylor, CEO of Handspring Trust

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