Don’t even try to ask me how I would compare the Beijing ceremony and London ceremony. It is like as absurd as comparing whether a nectarine or an apple has a better taste – merely a matter of preference. If you do need an answer, I’d say I LOVE the London ceremony.
The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony was bonkers. Danny Boyle, the artistic director of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and whom I already have a great respect for, is now officially on the top of my list of GENIUS.
I was super privileged to have attended the final technical rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 25 July 2012. I was there to watch Akram’s part and apart from that, I had no idea what to expect apart from what was revealed in the official statements and press conferences: grass, live animals, a big bell, a castle, The Tempest, Akram and 49 best dancers in the UK…
In the pre-show that started at 20.12 – the one to warm the audience up and not shown on TV – we were given enough to do. We passed down a piece of blue silk material from the top of the seats to the bottom which created the effect that water poured into the the centre of the stadium – it looked beautiful. Some of us were given huge zorb balls to play with. We were instructed on how to use the digital panel that were behind our seats – shaking, twisting and flapping it – I couldn’t see the big picture, but no doubt it’d look spectacular (and so it did).
Audience participation (which not an unfamiliar concept in the arts) was brought to a whole new level. I thought, “Very smart.”
And then, Danny Boyle came on stage and said (not a transcript), “A huge thanks to all the 10,000 volunteers who made this happen. This ceremony is yours. Please enjoy yourselves, take as many pictures as you like – and in fact, I hope you manage to get some GREAT pictures – but please help us, #savethesurprise. Thank you and enjoy the evening.”
When the director came out personally and said this directly to you, you really will listen. You respected him because he gave you his appreciation and his trust, and you know the power to make intelligent decisions lies in your hand.
At least 80,000 people watched the technical rehearsals, and no one said a word about the ceremony.
It was done with dignity and with pride.
It was because of Danny Boyle. This article gave a great insight of how it all worked, and who is there to doubt the amazingness of Danny Boyle?
“Danny created a room where no one was afraid to speak, no one had to stick to their own specialism, no one was afraid of sounding stupid or talking out of turn. He restored us to the people we were before we made career choices – to when we were just wondering.”
By the end of the ceremony, I was incredibly impressed by how well the human traffic control was organised. There were 60,000 of us. Traffic was slow, sometimes halted – the enthusiastic “game makers” (volunteers) did warm us up on these occasions – but all of us kept walking until we got on the train. No physical battle (pushing and pulling), no deadlock, no suffocation.
To be honest, I still don’t understand how such a huge crowd could even be so controlled but truth is, it happened miraculously.
The ceremony itself, was a portrayal of what I know about Great Britain, done with a quiet confidence and the arrogance that an empire has, and therefore had what I love and what I hate (all at once) about this place. It was perfectly imperfect. (which was vastly different from the Beijing ceremony.)
We know that we are not perfect and we are fine with it because we are just human. We try, we make, we share, we have fun, we pass on, and we thrive.
Humanity, mortality, elegance, grace, poetic… Things that Danny wanted to do, and done in these ways.
“This is a fallen world, but you can find grace and beauty in its darkest corners.”
(Image courtesy of : the internet)