The 2012 Olympic Games open tomorrow night in London. (Okay, there have been some soccer matches already — including an incident where the North Korean womens’ team refused to leave their dressing room for over an hour after Olympic officials mistakenly raised the South Korean flag instead of their country’s own — but let’s not quibble.) Expect a very British bang to kick things off: the Opening Ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame, which tells the story of much of Great Britain’s history.
Though we know the show will be split into three acts and set against a twee version of the pastoral countryside, very little of the ceremony’s specifics have been released, though photos of the rehearsal are leaking. The British press and the show’s director are asking all involved to “save the surprise” — they even made the phrase into a Twitter hashtag, which is now trending with likely-factual tidbits about the event interspersed with likely-faux-spoilers including reports of the queen flying in on wires; Justin Bieber being set aflame by the torch; and “Piers Morgan being torn apart by horses.” If only.
Photographic proof! From a good seat, too.
Fortunately, BuzzFeed Shift received a dispatch of the dress rehearsal from a source that attended. Here’s the lowdown:
More dress rehearsal goodness: From the Downton Abbey kitchens to the Olympic Games, look at that.
In a cute twist, the show will start with “an aerial fly-by,” my source says, at 8:12 p.m., because that’s 2012 on a decimal clock. The first act will be all about ye olde England, and would explain the presence of all the live animals and these people in traditional working class folk costumes. (As well as the cutesy cotton clouds that are supposed to be part of the set.) Apparently not a lot of merry singing/dancing occurs in this segment — presumably because the drudgery of peasant life in that era didn’t lend itself to musical numbers.
Next up is what my source called a “dark and brooding” segment focused on industrial England — think of that opening scene from Oliver! with all the kids in the workhouse. This act segues into a special homage to Great Britain’s National Health Service — watch for Fox News’ furor over the nod to socialized medicine — with doctors and patients from London’s famed children’s hospital, Great Ormond Street, making a cameo. The centerpiece of this section is reportedly a large figure representing the Grim Reaper, which is somewhat awkward given all the sick kids; black “child-catcher” carts also reportedly circle the arena menacingly. As possibly the only British person not to read/obsess over Harry Potter, our source couldn’t tell if the bad guy/hooded figure was Voldemort, as previously rumored, death itself, or just a representation of the hoodie culture that continues to blight Britain — but a bunch of aerialists representing Mary Poppins do float in to do battle with it/him as previously reported.
Sadly, our source didn’t see any of the rumored hijinks between
James Bond Daniel Craig and the Queen — but that might well be a video segment saved for the real deal alone. (Some James Bond music did play at one point, says the source.)
What could have been.
Surely though, it would have been much more fun to see Queen Elizabeth avada kedavra Voldemort’s pasty ass, and then 007 putting the moves on the prim and proper Miss Poppins.
Moving on, after all that excitement, a long musical segment showcases classic British music from the 1950’s through today. (This is where Paul McCartney must inevitably pop up, though he wasn’t at the rehearsal. Just expect it.) All the songs and videos are projected onto a big inflatable cottage, for some reason — apparently the drum section here is epic.
The show draws to a close with a one-minute moment of silence — though it’s not clear if this is in honor of the Israeli athletes killed at Munich’s 1972 Games or as a more generic tribute to recently-passed athletes. There’s a “somber song and dance” following this, though the parade of all competing athletes and their silly national Olympic uniforms will no doubt liven things up tomorrow night.
So there you have it. It’s said to be a must-watch ceremony, but now if you don’t have time to tune in for some reason (like, it being, oh, Friday night), you’ll know what happens anyway — aside from celebrity cameos of course, those folks aren’t going to show up until they absolutely have to. You’re welcome!