On Sunday after indulging in a traditional Chilean lunch (Empanada de Pino* and Pollo al Cognac) I ventured to the city centre to see if I could catch a glimpse of La Pequña Gigante* who was here with the French mechanical marionette theatre company Royal de Luxe. I arrived (along with every man and his dog) at quarter to six to the sound of La Pequeña Gigante and her Uncle, Señor Escafandra sleeping heavily at the intersection of Alameda and Portugal. Normally being one to keep my distance from big crowds, I did something I would not normally do – I got amongst it. (Perhaps the Pisco Sour still running through my veins had something to do with the desire to get in there).
I waited, unable to move, with the horde of eager locals who started chanting “Despiertate!” Wake up! Children perched on their parents’ shoulders displayed mixed emotions as they watched. From the high apartment balconies above, residents were drenching us with water which was a welcome respite from the heat. After a few minutes I almost stopped using my muscles to stand up, as I was being supported from all sides by the crowds and it was better to relax and go with the flow than to fight the sway of the people.
Just after 6pm both La Pequeña Gigante and her Uncle began to rouse, and for 10 minutes the puppeteers worked hard to move the puppets’ heads and faces to the live music. The excitement was palpable as the two marionettes started their evening parade down the street, although I don’t know if I was more enraptured with the show or with the fact that people started to disperse and I could move once again! Because of the heat, probably the latter, but I’m very glad I went along.