At 26cm tall, and her shoes weighing more than she does, Isabelle is definitely a little girl 🙂
At 5.5m tall and 300kg, the Little Girl Giant is also just a little girl 🙂
And they have so much in common!
No tantrums as they wait for someone to help them get dressed…
They know they look really cool!
They take the paparazzi in their stride…
They drop their shoes wherever and expect someone else to pick them up!
They like to play…
And to dance…
And not to be left behind, there is a scooter on the way for Isabelle. A beary size one, not a giant one 🙂
Isabelle is rather pleased to have more than one dress, one coat and one pair of shoes, and she is not sure at all about showering. It’s wet!
The giants have been and gone but they are still the topic of conversation in Perth and will be for some time yet. We are definitely fans now and yes, the cost was worth it. The production cost $5.4 million, most of it spent locally on street closures, staging and accommodating Royal de Luxe’s 100-strong team. About 600 WA staff and volunteers joined them to stage the event.
Perth Festival has been vying to stage The Giants for almost a decade. Sydney and Melbourne also sought to stage it, with Melbourne’s tramlines an impediment and NSW unwilling to commit funding. Sydney Festival director Lieven Bertels on Friday tweeted a pic to former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell of the vast crowds in Perth saying: “I trust you are watching this.”
The giant spectacular in Perth almost didn’t happen. A crucial sponsor pulled out in June last year, leaving the event in doubt. When it was revealed that Perth was likely to miss out on one of the world’s greatest free public spectacles because the Festival had fallen short of its target to secure the show, Royal de Luxe decided to extend the booking deadline so Festival organisers could drum up more support. The Premier had enough sense and the backbone to decide to provide $2 million to the event and had a chat with Crown Resorts chairman James Packer who then contributed $1 million towards the event through his new $200 million philanthropic foundation, the first WA arts partnership. I think they are all breathing a sigh of relief that it has been such an outstanding success.
Jean Luc Courcoult, the founder and director of Royal de Luxe, never refers to these creations as just puppets – he calls them “the giants” and hopes audiences will connect to them emotionally. He wants spectators to feel that they are as real as the dozens of people who tug on the ropes that work them.
You really have to see them live to see how life-like they are. I looked at photos and YouTube videos last week and I did think ‘what’s the big deal?’ It is difficult to explain just how special the giants spectacle is, no matter how many YouTube videos you watch. Luckily the bears took me out to see the big deal!
The Little Girl Giant is really beautiful. Yes, I know she is made from wood, but sometimes you really feel she is smiling and looking at you. That she is real.
I just love the way she bobs her head to music, sitting comfortably in her boat, taking everything in her stride, while everyone around her is fussing…
Royal de Luxe’s giant operators call themselves Lilliputians, after the race of tiny people in the novel Gulliver’s Travels. But, unlike Gulliver, these men and women dressed in crimson livery are not pinning the Little Girl Giant down, but instead seem to be freeing her, making her appear amazingly life-like and real. They describe themselves as a company made up of “inventors, stuntmen, poets and scrap dealers”. They bring The Giants to life with cranes, pulleys, electrics and hydraulics – and some exceptional timing.
Founded in 1979 by current director Jean Luc Courcoult, Didier Gallot-Lavallée, and Véronique Loève, Royal de Luxe staged a series of popular street theater productions in the 1980s, several of which they took on tour to various parts of Europe, Africa, and South America. In 1989, Royal de Luxe moved its operations from southern France to Nantes, a city in western France, and in 1993 embarked on a new phase of its history, when it presented the first of its “giant” pieces.
The company now has several giants – The Giant (who played the Giant Diver in Perth), giant Africans, a giant giraffe and giant baby giraffe, a giant elephant, the Little Girl Giant, a giant rhinoceros, a giant dog and a giant grandmother!
The company has two golden rules: performances must be outdoors and must be free to the public.
It looks like the adorable Little Girl Giant made her appearance in May 2005, in the show “The Visit Of The Sultan Of The Indies On His Time-Travelling Elephant” in Nantes and Amiens in connection with the Jules Verne centenary of his death. It is the story of a sultan who travels around the planet through time and space on an elephant and it is based on the Jules Verne novel The Steam House recounting the travels of a group of British colonists in the Raj in a wheeled house pulled by a steam-powered mechanical elephant.
She then appeared in May 2006, in London in an outdoor performance of “The Sultan’s Elephant”. The story told of a Sultan who dreamed about a little girl and traveled in his elephant time-machine in search of her.
From May to October 2006, the Sultan perched on his elephant and the little girl were spotted on the streets of London, Antwerp, Le Havre and Calais. And the Little Girl Giant began to steal the show 🙂
In 2007, at the request of the International Festival Teatro a Mil, Royal de Luxe dreamed up a new Giant story featuring a meeting between the Little Girl Giant and a rhinoceros. “The Pequeña y el Gigante rinoceronte escondido” (the Little Girl Giant And The Rhinoceros Hide) was presented from January 25 to 28 in Santiago de Chile and the success exceeded everyone’s expectations. This was also the first outing of the giants outside Europe.
In May, the Little Girl Giant continued her journey in a new story through Iceland this time: “The Geyser of Reykjavik”. Created especially for the close of the season at the French art festival in Reykjavik, the story was based on Nordic folklore.
A new story following the saga of the Giants was born in spring 2009 in the Royal de Luxe workshops in Nantes with a Deep-Sea Diver and the Little Girl Giant as main characters, armed with a boat and a strange wave manipulated by Lilliputians.
The Deep-Sea Diver and the Little Girl Giant had their first show in Nantes in 2009 and then travelled together to perform in Berlin (“The Berlin Rendez-Vous” opened the festivities commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in October 2009); in Santiago (“The Invitation” in January 2010 as part of the Bicentennial of Independence and 100 years of Chilean theater); in Antwerp (“The Diver, His Hand And The Little Girl Giant” in August 2010); Liverpool (“Sea Odyssey”, the story that celebrated the Centenary of the sinking of the Titanic in April 2012 and “Memories of August 1914”, the World War I journey in August 2014).
Part of the French company’s modus operandi is that it travels to the city chosen as a select venue and creates an original story woven from that place’s history, its people, sights and sounds, the result making for a personal, community event on a massive scale. These modern-day tales are performed across the city for three days and the story-lines are made available to a wide audience through the street performance, with the audience exposed to the emotion and poetry projected by these Giants.
Crowds in Perth, like many crowds before them, were simply transfixed by the stunning array of life-like movements, the pair’s humorous interactions with people and the impressive efforts of the Lilliputians.
In Perth, the production is based on the true story of a little girl – Fay Howe – from Albany’s Breaksea Lighthouse who was the last point of human contact in Australia for troops departing for Gallipoli in 1914. She is said to have signalled to the departing fleet in morse code. Weeks later, postcards began arriving from the Middle East addressed to “the little girl on Breaksea Island”. The story inspired author Dianne Wolfer’s 2008 book Lighthouse Girl.
The Deep Sea Diver and the Little Girl Giant portrayed an uncle and niece reunited 100 years after the landing at Gallipoli.
Surprise is a key ingredient in Royal de Luxe’s shows, so they often go to great lengths to avoid media attention. And in a world of infinite diversity, some people have no sense of humour! The Little Girl Giant just had to pee-pee. So what if it was the middle of Hay Street? She was most lady-like in undertaking the activity 🙂
As for the Deep Sea Diver, he really is giant! Yet he moved with incredible lightness and projected astonishing gentleness.
Bye-bye giants, hope to see you again!
Some of the best videos from YouTube on the giants spectacular in Perth: