Celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, the nation’s capital, Ottawa put on some amazing events. One of the most attended and enjoyed event was the theatrical extravaganza of La Machine. La Machine is a street theatre company founded in 1999 in Nantes, France and led by François Delarozière. It came about thanks to artists, technicians and theatre designers working together for the construction of unusual theatre objects.
Ottawa welcomed two gigantic creatures, Long Ma, the dragon, and Kumo the spider. Kumo was created in 2008 for a show called Les Mécaniques Savantes. The Dragon–Horse Long Ma was created as part of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Franco-Chinese relations. The five-day event started with the giant spider Kumo perched on top of an old cathedral in downtown Ottawa. Kumo awoke to live classical music and slowly descended to the ground amidst light and special effects that mesmerized the very large crowds. Meanwhile, some city blocks away, the Dragon Long Ma woke to a second massive crowd. The creatures walked about downtown giving onlookers many opportunities to see these magnificent creatures brought to life. Many individuals are needed to make these creatures come to life. Even though we can see them quite clearly as the creatures moved about, one quickly forgot about the handlers and just let one’s imagination take over.
The story was based on the fact Kumo had stolen Long Ma’s wings and the battle between the two produced epic moments for onlookers. I attended the second night’s event, where Kumo and Long Ma encountered each other amidst dramatic live music, fire, steam, and lighting effects. The crowds were immense and navigating closer to the creatures took quite a while and I finally was able to position myself in front of the crowd, ready to photograph the dragon.
My first pictures were taken at a fair distance as Long Ma left city hall to undertake its search for Kumo.