Olympic opening ceremony celebrates rural England

Sporting event opening ceremonies are invariably a combination of the pretentious and the preposterous. The London Olympics extravaganza promises not to disappoint on either score.

Film director Danny Boyle has been entrusted with staging the event. He is planning to bring the idyllic bliss of the English countryside to the Olympic stadium for the day, with a cast that will include 12 horses, 10 chickens, 70 sheep and a village cricket team.

The first sneak preview of the opening ceremony revealed the theme of a "green and pleasant land" with children dancing around maypoles. Boyle’s vision encompasses a three-hour narrative entitled Isles of Wonder, based on a speech by Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest.

"This is a festival of celebration of an Olympic ideal," Boyle said. "But it's not a naive show. We're trying to show the best of us, but we're also trying to show many different things about our country."

He was remaining secretive about how the elements of the story, including a recreation of Glastonbury, a few vignettes from history and a parade of NHS nurses, would fit together, and was also coy about whether celebrities would be involved. It was apparent that Boyle wanted the ceremony to be playful and inventive rather than the solemn pageantry that has been associated with British heritage in the past.

"You're bound to fail, that's built in. But you hope that on the journey, you hope people will find enough in it to feel that it is representative of us," Boyle said. All of this is costing just £27 million. Bargain.

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2020