It’s been a while… almost three years since I last posted. So some catching up.
Following on from the ‘Real Big Tony’ Abbott puppet, I made a ‘Real Big Mal’ puppet head of Malcolm Turnbull (when he replaced Abbott as Prime Minister in September 2015). His handler, Matthew Armstrong, repurposed Real Big Tony as the Ghost of Tony – not much has changed! – and for a while both puppets appeared together. Prior to the 2016 election I also made a big Barnaby Joyce puppet head. At this stage Matt did away with the large body suits, just wearing the heads on top of ordinary suits. I think all three puppets may now have been retired.
The Royal de Luxe‘s Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular that took place at the weekend in Liverpool to commemorate the Titanic centenary seems to have been a roaring success, with a huge turnout and press coverage. There are a great many photos and videos online now (including at Flickr), so I’ll only mention a few that interested me in particular.
Journalists from the Liverpool Echo were the first ever to be allowed to visit the company’s headquarters in Nantes and they have an article and brief behind the scenes video clip. This gives us a glimpse of the workshop, and interviews with the director who coordinates the teams of people who move the giants, and the Little Giantess’s movement conductor. I was interested to see La Machine viewed as a rival company! There seemed so much cross-over between the two that I’ve always assumed they were associated or sister companies!
Here’s a great photo of Xolo, Royal de Luxe‘s giant dog! It’s just been announced that Xolo will be appearing the Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacle in Liverpool in a couple of weeks time, along with the Little Giantess and her uncle, the deep sea diver.
I still take an interest in giant marionettes that operate roughly along the same lines as the Royal de Luxe ones. Tonight I happened across this giant boy puppet called Junior, New Zealand’s Biggest Fan, which took part in the festivities during last years Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. There’s always an invented backstory , however sketchy, for these puppets. Junior was made by Bomb Props who have released this making of video:
This fantastic air-powered 16 foot tall spider puppet is made by Tim Davies. Wired.co.uk has more technical details about the structure and how it operates. (I think this information must come from the artist’s site, but it is down at the moment).
Celebrations are taking place in Berlin this weekend for the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany. At the centre of the celebrations is a 4-day performance by Royal de Luxe‘s giant street theatre puppets, featuring their little giantess, and her giant uncle, the deep-sea diver.
Berlin was once a swamp inhabited by giants. One day, land and sea monsters tore the city in two and the Big Giant and Little Giantess were separated. The Little Giantess fell into a long sleep. When she awakes, she finds a large old mailbag containing letters between East and West Berlin, and sets out to deliver them. After each searching the streets of the city, the two giants are reunited and symbolically return tens of thousands of letters once intercepted by former East Germany’s Stasi secret police to people watching their procession through the city.
Photos and videos are starting to appear at Flickr and YouTube, and many others will follow, but here are some links to items that have grabbed my attention so far: