4/22/2012

The weekend I spent with Giants...

This weekend was a perfect example of why I've loved living in a big city - Liverpool, to be exact. In the 20 years I spent in my little Vermont town, I never once got to experience GIANT marionette's roaming the streets. Sure I've enjoyed the pleasure of tons of smelly skunks, bounding deer (mostly in front of my fricken car!) roaring camp fires and mooing cows, yes, but certainly no Giants. 


Over the past 3 days the city of Liverpool welcomed Royal De Luxe, an unbelievably talented and unique French street theatre company, to perform their Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular. It was truly one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen and something I honestly won't forget for a very long time. I mean seriously, how often do you get to watch 90 ft Giant puppet wearing a diving suit walk past you, sit on a cargo box full of letters, fall asleep and snore? Come on, people. This was awesomesauce at it's finest.


Now, in case you're confused as to why exactly Giants randomly pranced around Liverpool City Centre (as I was at first) allow me to enlighten you. In order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Titanic's sinking (everyone knows the link between Liverpool and the Titanic) Royal De Luxe created a storyline surrounding their Little Girl Giant and her Uncle (I believe the story changes depending on the city/country they're performing in). But in order to understand the movies/pictures below, you first need to know Liverpool's story. It is as follows:
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The Sea of Liverpool has swallowed up so many sailors, travellers and adventurers that you would think it was a cannibal.



Icebergs are boat hunters and Liverpudlians are huge children with eyes full of hope and rebellion.



For the unsinkable Titanic, her first voyage was also to be her last.



But let's move right away to the story of one stowaway: loaded on board during the night, unnoticed - a thirty foot tall Giant capable of travelling through time, on his way to another continent to meet his daughter, the Little Giant.



Giants don't grow old, don't grow up, they just stay the age they are for eternity - that is, if they don't die. Disaster struck in the Atlantic Ocean; everyone knows the details of the accident. The ocean liner was the pride of Liverpool, and many different Liverpudlian tradesmen were recruited, mainly to maintain the ship and to look after the passengers.

But let's return to our gigantic passenger trapped in one of the holds. He feels the full force of the iceberg's blade. The sea rushes into the ship so fiercely that he is unable to move. 

He is a prisoner and plummets 12,000 feet with the Titanic. We believe that, knowing he would soon die, he took his last underwater lift ride before coming to rest in a cloud of dust on the ocean bed.

Above, petrified with fear, survivors hoped for miracles - some were rescued, that too is known.

When the Little Giant heard the news, she sought out her uncle, the Great Giant's brother. While listening to her, the uncle made a decision that was to take him a century to carry out.

First, he would make himself a diving suit. Then he would scour the ocean floor for the shipwreck. After that, he would bury his brother in the deep-sea bed. Most importantly, he would come back with the letter the Great Giant had written to the Little Giant Girl. This is why he walked for many long years across the ocean floor, pulling the Titanic's mail trunk to bring back the post to Liverpool.

Such tragedies do not affect the Little Giant's morale who bravely decided to come to the reunion. While reading magazines before leaving, she discovered that there are another two famed legends in Liverpool - The Beatles music, and the sheer madness for football of the rebel City.

Before setting up her first camp in Stanley Park, between the two football stadiums north of the city, she decides she will go on a cruise through the town on a road-sailing boat. A few hours before her arrival, as if by magic, a geyser shoots up from the ground in the city centre, to herald her arrival.




Written By Jean-Luc Courcoult

Author, Artistic Director and Founder, Royal De Luxe.

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As Carl and I live in the City Centre, we were lucky enouch to see both giants (well, the Little Girl Giant has a 9 ft dog who runs, drools, wags his tail and pees - so technically there were 3) on multiple occasion - and two of those times we were in our PJ's looking through binoculars from our living room window, Ha! The wonderful thing was that each time we watched them we were just as excited as the last. Like a pair of 5 year olds at Christmas. It never became boring and throughout the entire weekend we continued to marvel over how real and life-like these Giants were. They blinked, took breaths, moved their mouths, waved, and even snored during their naps. It was 100% adorable! They stole my heart.


As you can imagine, my camera was doing over-time, so much so that I drained the batteries within 40 mins (how totally out of character...cough cough...) So I have an abundance of pictures to share. I will, however, refrain from sending you batty/boring you to death with the 150ish that there are... instead I'll only show a select few. And, as it's much more fun to actually see the giants in motion, I've uploaded some of my videos (and stolen some from YouTube as well).


So without further adieu...I give you The Little Girl Giant, her dog Xolo, and her long lost Uncle.


Friday afternoon she decided she'd had enough of riding around and stood up right in front of us...

Saturday Morning she manoeuvred through the city on her road-boat (wearing her raincoat, of course).  However, soon after this she decided she'd ride her scooter the rest of the way to the Pier Head.
On the way to her deck chair! (SO cute!)

(This picture isn't mine - but it's a FAR better quality - so you can see her scooter better. I  LOVE it! Cracks me right up!)
She was tuckered out from all of that scooter-ing (ha!) and headed to her GIANT deck chair for a nap.
Her dog, Xolo, joined her for the entire journey.


 I found this video online that's more stable than the one I took (this bit lasted 15 minutes, and I was without a tripod so my video looks like we're experiencing this in the middle of an 8.9 earthquake). Make sure you watch though, Xolo is ADORABLE!




Asleep with her radio (she snores too! Haaha!)

Xolo fell asleep also (looooook, he has a blanket on!)
I found this picture online and LOVE it. That building in the background is the Liver Building, Liverpool's most historic/famous/prominent building. Carl's Granddad actually used to work in there! The two birds on the top are the Liver birds - and because Wikipedia can explain their significance much better (and quicker) than I can,  I'm going to copy and paste that bit of info now:
 This prominent display of two liver birds rekindled the idea that the liver was a mythical bird that once haunted the local shoreline. According to popular legend, they are a male and female pair, the female looking out to sea, (watching for the seamen to return safely home) whilst the male looks towards the city (making sure the pubs are open). An alternative version says that the male bird is looking in to watch over and protect the families of the seamen. Local legend also holds that the birds face away from each other as, if were they to mate and fly away, the city would cease to exist. In fact, they were indeed designed to watch the City (Our People) and the Sea (Our Prosperity).
The Uncle in his diving suit, getting ready to sit down for a quick nap after an entire day of walking through the city.


I took this picture for my students - they LOVE Philippe Mario (I use him to teach them phonics Ha!)

his foot is bigger than I am!
removing his diving helmet...
and holding it...

After their naps...they continued their journeys through the city where they finally met up for the very first time...
I found this video of the moment when they meet. They hug and then she dances. SO CUTE! (Oh and the band is a fab live band that goes around with them. Carl has been ranting and raving about them the whole weekend). After a busy and emotional day, the giants cuddled as they slept last night.
This pictures is sweet.




This afternoon the Little Girl Giant, her Uncle and Xolo waved goodbye to all of us in Liverpool from a boat as they headed down the River Mersey. Obviously I'm well aware that these aren't actually real people (I'm not that sad), but as Carl and I walked home we both said the very same thing: "I'm sad they're gone. Now I feel blah." It's weird, but for the past 3 days - well, week actually (the kids and I have talked about them in class tons) my life has been consumed by these ginormous marionettes. And maybe it's because of the story, the link to Titanic or the fact that The Little Girl Giant who rides a scooter is so stinkin cute, but in some stupid silly way I've grown attached to them and life seems so mundane and boring now that they're gone. I'm just so thankful I got to be a part of something so special, it's not often you see things like this. So thank you, Liverpool, for providing me with another amazing memory I won't forget. 


Thanks for reading, guys!
Lots of love, love, love,




9 comments:

  1. Oh my GOSH!! Those things are huge!!!!!

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  2. An amazing blog Amanda - so beautifully written. I went to see them on Saturday and like you was overwhelmed by the experience.

    Liz

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  3. All I can say is WOW!!! What a spectacular site...even in pictures!! I can't imagine how fun this has been for you and your students. But I can see how boring things must seem now. Ha! This was just incredible to look at. Thanks for sharing sweetie :-)

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