The Little Giant of Nantes
Breathtaking, staggering, clever, curious, audacious, beautiful, inventive, impressive…
Imagine a giant marionette girl climbs out of a huge barrel, mounts a mammoth 11-metre tall mechanical elephant and parades through the crowded streets of Nantes, France. As the parades through the streets, the French giantess rides a scooter, takes a shower, sucks a giant lollipop, has a nap, and rests on the elephant’s tusks, before she is ultimately hoisted into a giant rocket and set ablaze.
That’s the chain of events played out May 19-22 for Nantes‘ Jules Verne celebrations. The parade and story was produced by Le Royal de Luxe, which will apparently be bringing their larger-than-life creations to other European cities. It’s really worth clicking every link here. The scale, story, logistics and attention to detail are truly remarkable.
I must say that this was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. People got very involved in the story to the point where they interpreted what the Little Giant was feeling based on what she was doing and how she acted. They talked about her as a person, not a contraption. At one point we asked someone where she was and they told us that she decided to go out for a walk after her shower. In the evening people were saying that she was riding the elephant because she was sleepy. I didn’t see it, but I was told that on Sunday morning, the Little Giant had to pee — and when she did, all of the handlers turned their backs and looked away so as not to embarrass her. It’s that kind of little detail, that kind of gesture, that allowed it to transcend mere puppetry. It’s hard to believe without actually being there, but just watching her sleep fills you with emotion.