Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Sultans Elephant - Jules Verne Fairytale

My brother recently sent me a DVD from London, regarding a giant mechanical elephant, parading through London! Chris Bauer explains Royal De Luxe theatre sultans elephant

"Sometimes I lie awake worrying that we're trying to achieve the impossible by bringing something on this scale to London," says Helen Marriage, who masterminded the Sultan's Elephant project. "Then I think all we're doing is closing a few roads so that an elephant can trundle around, and that's not such a big deal - although a gigantic mechanical elephant does stretch the British imagination somewhat."

Fairytales are supposed to be placeless (castles or woods), timeless (once upon a time), and nameless (the youngest son or the fairest of them all). They are supposed to be folk stories filled with imaginary characters and magical events. So what happens when one comes to life?

The delightful and unexpected interactions that emerged from the elephant's path and wake from May 4-7 [1 second past 2 minutes past 3 o├žlock on the 4th May 2006 1:2:3 4/5/6] tell you more about London in a moment than a thousand Richard Branson commercials, Evening Standard headlines or Blairite Olympic bids. The 12m high elephant, time traveling sultan entourage, and gigantic little-girl-lost blend into the streets at a standstill. As unusual an event as this Jules Verne inspired French Royal de Luxe production appears, for those who attend it is the most natural thing in the world. The smiles on the faces of children and adults alike, the street heralds preceding his movements ("THE ELEPHANT IS COMING! THE ELEPHANT IS COMING!"), and the parades following them in a light drizzle tell a story too often muzzled by the spasms of neurotic dog-eat-dog (or is it doggie-dogg) London. After everything, it is a wonderful place to live. Just watch you don't get trampled by the big hoof of an elephant in search of love and compassion.

Click on the video below to see the final chapter in the Royal De Luxe Theatre, Sultans Elephant's journey or visit the BBC's comprehensive coverage of the event, the official Sultan's Elephant site

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1 comment:

Lohdinger said...

Hi, I’m desperately looking for material on that event! Where can I order the DVD that you mentioned (your brother sent to you)? Please contact me under lohde(at)

Thanks a lot & Happy Easter,