Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blue Giant Leaves Footprints In Scotland

I have had this story in my to-blog list for ages and unfortunately have now missed the window when this amazing event was taking place (so sorry about that!) but feel I must still report on it - for you never know when he will return, and he WILL return...The 10th of November was the last day people would see a blue eight metre (twenty-six and a quarter feet) high giant walking the streets and villages of Scotland - at least for a while.

Here's where the story, the Myth of the Giant, began*:

“Many thousands of years ago when Scotland was a rough country of boulders, vast forests and wild beasts , people lived in fear of everything, even the shadows.

“Then one day the warmth of the sun was blotted out and they looked up to see two huge birds fighting in the sky. Like giant eagles they tumbled, wheeled and spun in the air until one of the creatures broke away and tumbled towards them. As it grew closer to the ground they saw it was not a bird but a giant man with great wings strapped to his back. When he hit the ground the earth trembled, his wings smashed to pieces, and the populace fled and hid in terror.

“Then, driven by curiosity, they ventured out to look at this Big Man. They saw he needed their help and they looked after him, gave him water and food.

“In return for their hospitality he helped clear the land of the giant boulders, throwing them into the sea to create islands. He carved out inlets with his bare hands so they could shelter their fishing boats and he chased the nightmare beasts from the forests.

“Gradually he recovered his strength and walked the land recovering the scattered pieces of his shattered wings to rebuild them.

“Finally he was ready, he tied his pinions to his back and with a great beat of air flew into the sky and was gone.

“At first people were sad and missed him, but when they looked around and saw their fields cleared of boulders, the forests safe to hunt in and sheltered havens for their fishing boats. They realised that this was now a land in which they could live and thrive.

“The wisest of them even suggested that the Big Man would return to see the country he had helped create. They promised that when he came back he would be welcomed with great celebrations. They wanted the communities to gather together to show him what had been achieved in his absence. These storytellers became The Guild of Watchers, who now await his return.”

The spectacular Big Man Walking street event and village tour was created by The Puppet Lab (along with Puppet Animation Scotland) thanks to support given by The National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council's Inspire Fund.

As you can see from the photos, this was an awesome feat for the designers/creators and experience for spectators. The event included parades of different kinds, large projections of people onto buildings and on windows, dancing, live music, special puppet performances (of a smaller size), gift giving and much more - each town having their own variations in greeting their giant blue visitor. The Guild of Watchers who are the 'storykeepers' and have watched for the giant's return, showed the way by guiding the big man safely from shore to forest and beyond with their lanterns and then onto the paths to various villages. I love the fact the event was based on some Scottish myths and so brought ancient local tales to life.Here are some videos of the giant in action:

The 'elevator pitch' for the event:

Greeting some school children:

This one is a little jerky but it still gives a good idea of the big man's reception:

There are booklets on the myth as well as photos and a lot more HERE at the official website. If I find out when he's due to walk again I'll let you know.* Source for the Big Man myth is the official website.

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