He's a remarkable horse from Oregon that lost both eyes to a painful ocular disease – but when he takes the stage at this year's Caravan Farm Theatre, Endo will be the star of the show.
Set in small-town British Columbia, The Night's Mare is a fun, magic-infused new play by Electric Company Theatre co-founder and Governor-General's Award winner Kevin Kerr. It's the latest production by Caravan Farm, a legendary company that operates on an 80-acre plot in the wilds outside Armstrong, B.C.
The company's shows happen under the stars (even on horse-drawn sleighs in winter) and feature live horses performing alongside actors and musicians in the farm's picturesque fields and forests.
The Night's Mare tells the tale of a young girl, Flo, who dreams of becoming a magician – but for now is her tiny town's very best babysitter. When a celebrity couple come in search of a mythical horse and put their terrible child into her care, little Flo's skills are pushed to the limit.
The characters soon find themselves in a magical forest where a ghostly horse and its rider are said to haunt the woods, giving the summertime story a campfire feel.
"There's that very magical, spooky, tingly quality that can happen when you're walking through the woods or down a dark path or a dusty road at night, and it's quite tantalizing," Caravan Farm artistic director Courtenay Dobbie said, emphasizing that the show isn't scary, just spooky, so it's appropriate for little ones. "Ultimately it's just really fun and intriguing and mysterious."
It's also about overcoming fears, added Ms. Dobbie, who said Endo seems completely unfazed by his loss of sight. He runs like any other horse, never bangs into things and interacts with people just as sighted horses do. His behaviour is so striking, in fact, that Ms. Dobbie asked Endo's trainer if she thinks he's aware that he's blind. She said no.
"We wanted to show the idea that this ghost is very scary because it doesn't have any eyes and everybody is frightened of it. And then it's revealed that he's actually beautiful and capable and not scary at all. So it's about looking fear in the face," Ms. Dobbie said. "And this horse is a beautiful representation of overcoming adversity, being brave and just doing things no matter how scared you are."
A Night's Mare is at Caravan Farm Theatre until Aug. 23. No shows Mondays, pay what you can most Tuesdays (caravanfarmtheatre.com).