Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rehearsal Reveals 'Bizarre And Spectacular' Opening Ceremonies For London Olympics

Noah Kidron-Style /

Wednesday's rehearsal of the July 27 opening ceremony,
"Isles of Wonder" for the London 2012 Olympics

By Noah Kidron-Style
Senior Reporter
LONDON – Following the wettest British summer in memory, the start of the London Olympics has, in a moment of real life pathetic fallacy, coincided with the sun finally coming up.
It has not been the easiest ride, with security cock-ups, athletes getting lost and even the North Korean football team storming off the pitch after the South Korean flag was displayed, but tomorrow night the problems of organization will be forgotten as the world tunes in with an expected global audience of up to 4 billion.
Last night was the final dress rehearsal where 30,000 people, many of them Olympic volunteers, were given the privilege of being the first few to witness the spectacle.
To avoid too many details leaking, Director Danny Boyle has created a twitter campaign #savethesuprise, so to avoid the inevitable wrath of the twitterati I cannot reveal all of the details but I would say to those wishing to avoid any spoilers, look away now!
The ‘Isles of Wonder’ ceremony is bizarre and spectacular in equal measure.
The show opens with a homage to the poet William Blake as a rural idyll – complete with real livestock – and is brought crashing down by a gang of cartoonish Victorian capitalists who bring about the Industrial Revolution to the tune of the hymn “Jerusalem.”
A set of flying pyrotechnic Olympic rings brings the first act to a close in stunning fashion.
From then on the show just gets weirder.
There is a film involving James Bond and the Queen that I have yet to see, though rumor has it that she has a speaking part. Then the surreal moment when hundreds of nurses team up with Mary Poppins lookalikes to battle against a giant puppet Voldemort in Disneyesque tribute to the National Health Service.
One thing that surprised me about the show was the huge number of British historical and pop culture references throughout. Perhaps our international readership can tell us whether Chariots of Fire, the Jarrow March and Fawlty Towers hold the same significance to them, given that the ceremony will be watched from Cairo to Caracas.  One hopes that they will embrace the madness regardless.
And madness it is. The musicians in the London Philharmonic Orchestra who were so upset at being made to mime over a recorded performance that they have refused to go to rehearsals, the national anthem being sung by a deaf and hearing impaired choir and the 10-minute hit parade of song clips and TV shows including an entirely appropriate performance of Bonkers by UK hip hop artist Dizzee Rascal – all projected onto an inflatable house.
Noah Kidron-Style /

Rehearsing the opening of the London 2012 Olympics
The organizers have claimed not to be competing with China’s opening ceremony but it is inevitable that comparisons will be made.
Whereas China impressed though incredible synchronicity, London focuses on individuals each acting out their own little scene as part of a larger performance. In any case with our top hatted Victorian industrialists, we have proved that in the post-credit crunch world, we, too, can do anti-capitalist propaganda. 
It seems that we are not so different after all, and isn’t that the Olympic spirit?

No comments: