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Introducing the characters

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We have brought to life four archetypal figures present in each of us. This is not a period piece or sepia toned representation of women of that era. This show talks of those daring, free spirits and of the artists who play them. We have…


Nellie

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« I will have tents, horses and weapons, and I will be free. » Isabel Burton

« Obedience is death. » Alexandra David-Néel

Nellie fights for herself, for men’s rights and for women’s rights. This determined acrobat charges in, balancing on her giant bicycle. She gets in the thick of things, come rain or shine. Nellie is firing pamphlets into the crowds and thundering into her bullhorn from atop her bicycle. Her bicycle, with its motley assortment of flyers and things is her banner. She is the standard bearer leading the public through town to meet…


Jane

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« You don’t travel if you’re afraid of the unknown. You travel in search of the unknown, and you discover yourself. » Ella Maillart

« The Royal Geographical Society doesn’t mention husbands on its very complete list of indispensable items in tropical climates. » Mary Kingsley

Jane is always falling in love. She has a delicate constitution and finds exploring new lands to be an amusing pastime. In her own surroundings, her health declines and she is only reinvigorated whilst traveling. Then she becomes unpredictable in nature’s extremes. Being a passionate collector, she is always hunting for a real gem, a four-leaf clover or the perfect husband. No-one can resist her frenzy. Jane is a fool for love, ready to swoon over the worst desperado. She is an unreasonable woman, for the Victorian era, who lets herself be guided by her utmost desires while traveling.


Alexine

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“Tell the Sheik that I am the Duchess of Persigny, that I am quite happy here and that I will only come down when I am good and ready.” Harriet Martineau

Alexine is the one who disguises herself. Nothing in the world would make her give up the trappings of femininity. In her large dress, aristocratic wig, hat and boots, she makes a grand impression in order to establish her dignity. By keeping to her routines, she never shows any sign of weakness, no matter where she is. Whether in the middle of the desert or high in the mountains, she takes a bath in a big brass basin, has tea time at five o’clock sharp and dines in eveningwear and perfume with her guide. She does use her fine china and linens, silverware and crystal wherever she travels, but that is to reaffirm her prestige and to demonstrate who is in charge. When the Dayak head hunters came to attack, she quickly checked her appearance and straightened her skirts to get ready to barter with them! Alexine draws more antipathy and envy from the indigenous peoples she meets than gratitude for her opulent gifts! Of the four adventurers, she’s the Marie-Antoinette figure.


Osa

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“I can do whatever other women are doing.” Ella Maillart

“Here, they think I’m such a marvelous person for being so independent, because all the other ladies are rather delicate.”. Isabel Burton

Osa loves being the center of attention, always having her picture taken, (and won’t hesitate to strike a pose caressing a crocodile), or being filmed parading around on a zebra. She is quick to touch up her make-up when journalists come around. Of the four adventurers, she’s the big star, an accomplished artist and athlete. To pay for her travels, she sings and dances cabaret. Adrenaline rush is what drives her on her adventures. And she knows that as a woman she has to be better at everything than everyone else, while using the media and her femininity to her advantage for recognition as an explorer. She is great at everything. She’s glamorous and intrepid and has the sponsors to back her. Nothing can stop her. Everybody is awed by her; she’s amazing and awesome indeed. She writes her story with a plane in the sky.


All four of these women are heroines. Without great riches, athletic training, scientific knowledge (women had no right to higher education) or even their youth anymore, they must be more inventive and level-headed under pressure than others would be. A good sense of humour also helps them get through their ordeals. Always either astride an elephant, camel, horse or bicycle, or perched in an airplane or palanquin as on the different rides of a carrousel, they take us on their journey.

These amazing women embark on their city odyssey perched on spectacular, multi-function floats, the individual stages for each character.