Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Once upon a time

There is a story by Jules Verne (author of Around the World in Eighty Days) about a sultan and a little girl. The gist of the story is that there once lived a Sultan who was tormented in his dreams by visions of a girl who he believed was travelling through time. He couldn't sleep, so he built a time-travelling elephant and set off with its huge elephant in search of the girl, who, in the course of his nightmares, had been transformed into a marionette five meters high. This would be a fascinating yet *ordinary* fairy-tale, if only set within the pages of a book… But, instead, this tale was extracted from its original location and loosely converted into a play, which would have been a *normal* performance, had the characters acted on stage and not in the streets of London. Again, it would have been a *standard* street performance had the characters been real actors and not marionettes or mechanical devices. And it would have been a puppet show, had the marionette & the mechanical elephant been of normal sizes and not as gigantic as they were.

London, as previously other European cities and other countries, became the stage of a massive performing art show, created by Loyal de Luxe, a European street theatre company which was founded by Jean Luc Courcoult in 1979.

For a whole weekend all the streets of central London were closed to the traffic allowing a gigantic elephant, inhabited by the sultan and his entourage, to wander for the streets of the city heavily stamping over any car standing on their way during his desperate quest for a little girl who had (literally) landed to the ground.

It was a surreal atmosphere which I witnessed astounded…

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