THE GRANDMOTHER GIANT
The Grandmother Giant appeared for the first time in 2014 in the show “The Planck Wall” in Nantes.
“She’s an 85 year old Grandmother. Her half-Breton, half-Irish origins have given her a tough, daring and mischievous character, but full of tenderness nonetheless”. © Jean-Luc Courcoult, author / director / creator of Royal de Luxe
“This Grandmother can speak and she has a strange language with Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Arabic and Asian consonances”, explains Jean-Luc Courcoult in an exclusive interview he gave for the first show of the Grandmother Giant.
Her face is made of silicon; her hair and eyebrow are made of horses’ tails. Her hair up in a bun weighs 26 lb! She is 24 ft tall and weighs 3,80 lb. 25 Lilliputians are required to give life to her. When she walks she can reach 0.62 miles per hour and in her chair she can move at 1.86 miles per hour.
Accessories / Equipment
She wears a long dress made with 393 ft of each thing: printed fabric, cotton for the lining and cotton for the borders. Her shoe size is 206.5, that is to say her slippers measure 18 ft! They are made of carpet and leather. Sometimes she uses glasses made to measure by a Nantes local brand. She has also a pipe, a bottle of Whisky, a scarf or a squared blanket. She comes with her immense safe, inside there is all her memories.
To walk in the city, she uses a walking stick or her wheelchair. The latter is 21ft tall, and weighs 5 ton, 4 technicians work on it during the show. Sometimes she needs to sleep on her bed or to take a rest on her wheelchair.
Activities / Personality
“Her personality can be surprising as sometimes she gets swept away by incomprehensible details. Not like madness but like an exactness that seems to inhabit her.
She travels through several lived realities: in the past, the present and the future all at once. She smokes pipes. She spits from time to time. And even her anus farts sometimes lift her skirt with a smell of vanilla. […]
Her steps are small. She needs a walking stick. Her body sways, disjointed by age. As if her will alone was moving her. Her veiny hands are partially affected by arthritis, but when she gets worked up, she could lift an elephant. […]
Everyone looks after her. She carries timeless memory.”
© Jean-Luc Courcoult, author / director / creator of Royal de Luxe
The Grandmother was hosted by 3 cities, in Nantes (“The Planck Wall”, France, 2014), in Liverpool (“Memories of August 1914”, England, 2014) and in Limerick (“The Grandmother fallen from the galaxy into a field in Munster”, Ireland, 2014).
THE LITTLE GIRL GIANT
In was 2005, the Little Girl Giant appeared for the first time in the show “The visit from the Sultan of the Indies on His Time-Travelling Elephant”.
She is made of steel, poplar and lime wood. She is 5.50m high (18 ft) and weighs 800kg (1764 lb). 70 horses’ tails were necessary to make her 6.5kg (14 lb) hair.
The Little Girl Giant is handled by about 22 Lilliputians. Her child’s scooter can reach 4km/h; she goes through the cities of the world while enjoying her favorite hobbies: sewing cars on asphalt, gymnastics or sweet things’ tasting.
In 2007, she helped to capture a Rhinoceros in Chile during the show “The Little Girl Giant and the hidden Rhinoceros”, and then she left to meet Icelandic people with “The Geyser of Reykjavik”.
Two years later, she came back in “The Giantess of Titanic and the diver” in Nantes within the framework of Estuaire 2009. This creation was adapted to Berlin for the 20th birthday of the fall of the Wall (“The Berlin’s appointment”), to Chile for the Bicentenary of the independence in 2010 (“The invitation”), and to Antwerp with “The diver, his hand and The Little Girl Giant”.
The Little Girl Giant is used to wearing her famous green dress that weighs 30kg (66 lb) with 36 buttons on it. However in 2010, even if she still takes her shower with her “lightweight” nightgown which weighs 6kg (13 lb), she came back for “The Giant of Guadalajara” in Mexico with a new smock in Mexican colors. This Mexican item of clothing comes as a result of 500 hours of hand-made embroidery. 1700m (5578 ft) of embroidery thread were necessary, and 200m (656 ft) of knitting! In Guadalajara, the Little Girl Giant met the Xolo which is a character that Royal de Luxe will then present by the Little Girl Giant’s side in Nantes in 2011 (“El Xolo”).
In 2012, “Sea Odyssey” was presented to the city of Liverpool. It brought together the Little Girl Giant and the diver for the 100th birthday of the shipwreck of Titanic.
In 2014, Liverpool hosted a show of the saga of the Giants again: the Little Girl Giant and the Xolo met up with the Liverpudlians again, by the Grandmother’s side to spend memorable moments.
“Despite not being blessed with the power of speech, the Little Girl-Giant has in her eyes the crashes, swirls and hopes of all Human History.”
© Jean-Luc Courcoult, author / director / creator of Royal de Luxe
Extract from the story of the show “El Xolo” (2011)
In 2015, she went to a new land: Australia. In Perth, for the show The Incredible and phenomenal journey to the streets of Perth, she told with the deep-sea diver a story to commemorate the centenary of Anzac.
She finally visited Montreal in 2017 to celebrate the city 375th anniversary with the Xolo and the deep sea-diver for the performance “The Giants, the great invitation”.
For 10 years, people who have hosted Royal de Luxe fell for the kind and cheerful Little Girl Giant. Mails coming from all over the world are regularly sent to her. They show tenderness, friendship and even admiration which spectators feel for her.
Their name obviously referred to the characters from Jonathan Swift‘s novel Gulliver’s Travels, these little men who live on the island of Liliput and are six inches high.
Always faithful they are active and considerate, they take care night and day of the Giants, Royal de Luxe’s Lilliputians serve the Giant in the manner of the lackeys who were in the service of the King in olden days. From lackeys of the eighteenth century they also inherit their ceremonial suit in red velvet. On their feet, the safety shoes they wear bring us back to the current century and remind the timelessness of our Giants and their acolytes.
From show to show, Lilliputians become more and more numerous. All of them wear a red velvet costume which the cut is based on the simplified pattern of theatre costumes. These costumes are integral part of the history of Royal de Luxe. Created more than 20 years ago, they are still used in every show: we just sew on buttons again, we make alterations…
Lilliputians have become the clearly identifiable signature of the saga of the Giants of Royal de Luxe. Scale relations raise the question: who is small? Who is different? What is extraordinary?