November 30, 2018 (Calgary, AB) - From the minds behind The Highest Step in the World, Tomorrow’s Child and The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst comes a new show of epic proportions. GIANT is the amazing story of professional wrestler André the Giant, one of the most recognizable and beloved public figures ever, told from the perspective of the one person he left behind.
Packed with captivating imagery, animated objects, and the raw spectacle of a wrestling match, GIANT unfolds as a boisterous alternative to the traditional bio-pic. A cast of five women tells the story with a raucous high theatricality that bodyslams professional wrestling’s hypermasculine culture. Ghost River’s trademark collaborative approach to theatre means that design, direction, script and performance all work together to stage an unstageable protagonist (7’4” and 520 pounds!), using the language of theatrical scale to express the extraordinary life of a person of extraordinary size.
“Casting and staging André the Giant at 7,4" 520-pound would be an impossible task in a film or television setting, which in our new production GIANT becomes a provocation for the exciting possibilities of theatrical representation. At Ghost River Theatre we love to tackle the impossible and offer a new perspective of stories we think we already know. As such, we have chosen to cast the play with five of Calgary’s most versatile and accomplished female performers, one of whom will play André. Theatrically, the play becomes an exploration of the meaning of scale, as we make a small actor seem enormous through the use of animated objects and lo-fi magic. And on the opposite extreme, we are designing and engineering inflatable objects and other forms of experimental puppetry that can fill the Grand Theatre and capture the awe and spectacle of a wrestling match and André's giant sized presence. From a thematic point of view, our casting choice opens up rich potentials for cracking open our understanding of the hyper masculine world of wrestling while telling André's story from the one person he left behind. We are thrilled to be presented as part of the Festival of Animated Objects highlighting both our use of experimental puppetry and Calgary's incredible wrestling legacy.” - Eric Rose - Director, Co-Playwright of GIANT and Artistic Director of Ghost River Theatre.
GIANT makes full use of the inherent theatricality of professional wrestling, bringing an audience ringside while they simultaneously discover the details of André’s giant-sized life. The show traces his discovery in France by Québécois promoter Frank Valois, his early days at the Montréal Forum and his rise to superstardom in the coke-and-cable-tv-fuelled early days of the World Wrestling Federation. It also examines his struggles with acromegaly—a form of gigantism that made him a spectacle, destroyed his body, and drove him to alcoholism and an early death.
Created in a city with deep roots in the culture of professional wrestling, GIANT is a show designed to engage both wrestling aficionados and those who knew him only as the beloved giant Fezzik in Rob Reiner’s classic film, The Princess Bride.
Presented by the Festival of Animated Objects. Every 2 years the Festival of Animated Objects awakens the inanimate and gives expression to the inert. From puppet shows to film screenings, gallery exhibitions to workshops, from March 13 – 17, 2019 Calgary will come alive with original creations, mythical creatures, and curious beasts, objects and gadgets, and thingamajigs beguiled by puppet-masters and artists alike to stir your imagination.
Full festival line-up to be announced February 7, 2019. Visit puppetfestival.ca for more details.
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