Christopher Mai (left), Derek Stratten and Rob Laqui work the Joey puppet, made from bent cane and lined with see-through mesh.
Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler created the "War Horse" puppets. | Pieter Hugo photo
"War Horse" is based on the best-selling 1982 children's novel by British writer Michael Morpurgo.
A sketch shows the design of the "War Horse" puppets.
The "War Horse" puppet Joey existed on paper before hitting the big stage.
"War Horse" runs Dec. 18 through Jan. 5, 2013, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.
The performers in "War Horse" must manipulate hand controls, coordinate gestures and footwork, and have enough stamina to bring the skeletons of the two primary horses to life.
The horse teams in "War Horse" underwent a three-week rehearsal period just to learn how to walk, gallop, breathe and learn where the impulse to move must come from.
"We've got a structural 'horse Bible' for each of the puppets," said Matt Acheson, associate puppetry director of the New York and touring productions of "War Horse."
"War Horse" follows the story of Joey, a foal bought in a contentious auction in Devon, England, and raised and cared for by a young boy, Albert, with whom he develops a powerful bond.