Rarely is the appearance of Godzilla-like beasts accompanied by applause instead of screams of terror, but over the past weekend, 750,000 people cheered on towering robotic monsters duking it out in downtown Ottawa.
French street theatre company La Machine created the two mechanical marvels and designed the four-day public performance called “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, With Stolen Wings.” La Machine derives all its inspiration from machination and movement, saying it chose public space because “when we make big things, we inspire larger emotions from the public, and you can see more movement in a larger machine.”
Long Ma, the half-dragon / half-horse creature, stands at 36 feet high, weighs 45 tons, breathes smoke and fire, and can trot, gallop, rear up, and lie down. Kumo, the spider, weighs 40 tons, sprays water, and takes 16 people to control all its intricate movements. The Ottawa performance was La Machine’s debut in North America.
Over the course of four days, an elaborate story unfolded, with Long Ma and Kumo “awakening” and performing three battles, with the final one occurring at the Canadian War Museum (a decidedly apropos move). The beasts don’t just roam streets, the team storyboarded the events so they would interact with and around things like traffic lights, bridges, and art pieces to make it feel like “they are in a different universe.” Check out Kumo and Long Ma battling, below. To see more, visit CBC News’ full recap with videos from each day.