Sheep, cows, meadows, cricket, rainy weather and mosh pits. Does it get more British than that? Artistic director Danny Boyle does not think so as he has chosen the aforementioned features to create “a picture of ourselves as a nation” on stage at the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics on Friday July, 27th.
Thirty sheep, twelve horses, ten chickens, and nine ducks will all be made to feel at home on the real grass field and river that will make up the background for the display. There will even be fake clouds suspended on wires above the stadium that can produce rain if need be. Two mosh pits representing the Glastonbury and Last Night of the Proms musical festivals will accompany the rustic scenery as an estimated 10,500 athletes from 204 nations are introduced to 1 billion viewers worldwide.
Boyle, who is perhaps most well-known for directing the 2009 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, “Slumdog Millionaire,” decided to construct the rural landscape in the middle of urban East London in order to create “a reflection of part of our heritage.” A 50,706-pound bell inscribed with the words “be not afeard, the isle is full of noises,” from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will ring to signify the start of the ceremony. In all, 13,000 props and 23,000 costumes are being prepared for the event by 10,000 volunteers who have 45 days until showtime.
News leaked last week that Paul McCartney will be the closing act for the ceremony that will start at 9 p.m. local time and by orders from the International Olympic Comittee finish by midnight. Queen Elizabeth II will officially open the games with a pre-recorded segment that includes Daniel Craig as James Bond.
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