Royal de Luxe



Royal de Luxe is a French mechanical marionette street theatre company. They were founded in 1979 by Jean Luc Courcoult. The company has performed in Europe, Korea, China, Vietnam, Chile and Africa.

The Sultan's Elephant is a show created by the Royal de Luxe theatre company, involving a huge moving mechanical elephant and other associated public art installations. In French it is called La visite du sultan des Indes sur son éléphant à voyager dans le temps (literally, "Visit From The Sultan Of The Indies On His Time-Traveling Elephant").

The elephant is made mostly of wood, and is operating by over ten puppeteers using a mixture of hydraulics and motors. It weighs 42 tons, as much as 7 African elephants.

In Nantes, from 19-22th May 2005 and in Amiens, from 16-19th June 2005. The show was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of Jules Verne's death. The production was commissioned by the two cities. It was funded by a special grant from the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

The Sultan's Elephant show was performed in London from 4-7th May 2006. The show started with a rocket crashing in Waterloo Place on Thursday May 4, smashing up the tarmac, with smoke coming out from the bottom. This amused and confused passers-by, as some had no idea what was going on.

On Friday, the elephant arrived, along with the Sultan. An oversize marionette emerged from the rocket - this was the girl from the Sultan's dreams. The girl met up with the elephant. Friday evening the elephant wandered round St. James's.

On Saturday, the elephant walked to Trafalgar Square, where it rested over lunch. Then the girl marionette was lifted by a crane onto the elephant's trunk, and was carried on 'Grand Parade' back to Horseguards Parade, with the 'sultan' sightseeing with a troop of dancers on top of the elephant.

The girl has a needle and thread, and likes to sew things, including a series of cars that were 'sewn' to the tarmac.

On Sunday, the show finished with a Grand Finale, in which the girl climbed into the rocket, which then 'took off'. This involved the rocket firing, with smoke and flames coming out of the bottom. The rocket didn't go anywhere, but when the top was removed from the rocket, by a crane, the girl had disappeared. She had travelled in time.

Whilst in London, the elephant was stored overnight at the Battersea Power Station, and was transported to the various sites overnight with a police escort. The police, who were more used to escorting large steel items overnight, were reported to have had fun with the event by making up explanations to members of the public.

The Sultan's Elephant show is being performed in Antwerp, Belgium from 7-9 July 2006. Besides the elephant, the rocket and the small giant, there is also a carousel with fantasy vehicles.

'…the most enchanting, spectacular, beautiful piece of fairytale that I think I'll ever see. I have the strangest feeling today, something in between grief and joy, sad that I will never see that beautiful Little Giant or that gargantuan Elephant and happy that I had the privilege to meet them. Thank you for reminding me how to be a child and for realising that cynicism is not a way of life!'
Londoner, 8th May 2006.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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