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Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Little Girl Giant


"The little giant girl
woke up one morning
got a shower from
the Sultan's Elephant,
and wandered off
to play in the park..."

theatlantic.com

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Somewhere between the quiet mists of fantasy and the pages of a childhood story book emerges the "little giant girl".  She is 30 feet tall and weighs 1764 pounds, and yet, the enchantment of this giant marionette - even whilst cables are being commandeered by human beings to control her movements - has stirred my imagination, as well as my heart, for about a decade. 


theatlantic.com
In this brief 5 minute video, you can see her come to life while the music entitled, " 'Decollage", by Les Balayeurs du Désert plays.   Suggested: To view this 5 minute video without the background music playing, use CTL+END to take you to the bottom of this page.  Turn off the youtube video that is playing, and return to the top of the page by using CTL+HOME and click the arrow in the middle of the video, to view. 

"I've learned to clip my wings
And soften my ways
I've learned
These are ordinary things
like you'd estimate, just average
But evidently she does not agree
like you'd estimate, just average
But I've learned to clip my wings
And soften my ways"

I first watched this video, when a friend posted it on my 'wall' on myspace, just about 10 years ago.  It was magical, and it still is.


Typically, when one thinks of a marionette, we envision a puppet master either standing or hiding behind a mini-stage to control the strings of the figures.  A marionette is a puppet controlled by a person, from above, using wires or strings depending on regional variations.  In French, marionette means "little Mary", and was derived from one of the first figures that was made into a marionette - the Virgin Mary.


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etsy
On a much grander scale, the Royal De Luxe company began in 1979 as an acting trio which was led by Jean-Luc Courcoult, who attracted audiences by their outdoor performances on the street and in public parks, in Aix-en-Provence.  


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The company traveled the world, and as the stage was set for each show, the next would become more magnificent then the last, until they received a call from the Mayor of Nantes in France, (1989) who ultimately offered them the money and a warehouse as a home-base from which to work and prepare their shows.  The genius and imposing creations began to evolve into a series of unforgettable parades that began in the early 1990's.  
"This is a company of inventors, stuntmen, poets and scrap-dealers all at once, led by Jean-Luc Courcoult. Royal de Luxe are currently considered to be an iconic, almost mythical, street theater company - equal to the Theatre du Soleil for conventional indoor theatre."  Source:  royal-de-luxe.com/en/company

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The little girl giant was part of one of the troupe's early shows entitled "The Sultan's Elephant", that took four years to produce. Each show has a theme, and this event was commissioned to commemorate the centenary of Jules Verne's death, and it was first performed in Nantes and Amiens, the author’s places of birth and death, respectively. It was then presented at several locations around the world between 2005 and 2006.


impressivemagazine.com
The giants are generally made from poplar wood, and are controlled by a system of hydraulic pulleys, motors and levers, which are operated by 20 to 40 members of the Royal de Luxe troupe.  The people who control the giants are called Lilliputians. 


messynessychic
As I mentioned each show commemorates special events in history, and many other "giants" have emerged for these incredible productions.  Another spectacular instance was one born of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic to pay tribute to the victims of that disaster. It was entitled "The Titanic Sea Odyssey":

 dailymail.co.uk explained the back-story: 
PUBLISHED: 13:03 EST, 20 April 2012  "Over the course of three days, the supersized puppet show tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named May McMurray, who wrote to her father when he was aboard the RMS Titanic - three days before the liner hit an iceberg and sank.


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But the tragic tale will come to what organizers say is a 'heartwarming finale' on Sunday, when the grieving Little Girl Giant character is reunited with her 'uncle' at the end of a 23-mile route.

French creators Royal De Luxe took inspiration from the real-life letter May sent to her father, which is on display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Artistic director Jean Luc Courcoult has adapted *the story to focus on the relationship between the girl and a fictional uncle who has been searching the sea bed for 100 years to lay his brother to rest.


fr-online.de
During the search he discovers the letter written by the Little Giant Girl, vowing to return it to the author and tell her what happened to her father.

He began his journey from Albert Dock on the city's waterfront at 2 p.m. this afternoon and will make his way towards his giant 'niece'." -dailymail.uk.co


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messynessychic
*Here is the wonderful story, "L'INCROYABLE ET PHÉNOMÉNAL VOYAGE DES GÉANTS DANS LES RUES DE PERTH", written by Jean Luc Courcoult.  (click on the picture of the little giant girl).

Official website of Royale de Luxe - you can view many more fabulous creations by this company... you won't be disappointed!

More great photos.... here.