Premiere New York Premiere
Production Language English;French
Country of Origin South Africa
Description In 1826, the Pasha of Egypt put a whole new slant on the notion of gift giving, ordering a giraffe be captured in Sudan and brought to France’s King Charles X. Duly snared, the giraffe and her abductor set off on the long journey, during which they develop a powerful bond. It’s a story so fantastic that it has to be true—and most of it is.
An intra-African collaboration between South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company and the Sogolon Puppet Troupe of Mali, Tall Horse is vibrant and evocative theater, drawing on the story’s complex political, social, and cultural implications. The production turns the historical tables to show the African “discovery” of Europe, examining both the past and present state of African-European relations. Wonderfully skilled performers manipulate and interact with the life-size (and larger) puppets, creating a powerful fusion of human acting and puppetry techniques amid a fantastic tableau of color and sound.
The Pasha, a massive ten-by-ten-foot assemblage who comes together piece by piece, lords over his vivid subjects with an authority befitting his heft. The sixteen-foot giraffe, on the other hand, towers magnificently and delicately, inspiring all who encounter her.