Preview(opens in a new tab)Add titleOlympics opening ceremony details revealed
The Olympic Stadium will be transformed into the “British countryside” for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games on 27 July.
A cast of 10,000 unpaid workers will help recreate country scenes, against a backdrop featuring farmyard animals and landmarks like Glastonbury Tor.
The opening scene of the ceremony, which will cost the same as 1200 teachers’ annual salaries, will be called “Green and Pleasant”, artistic director Danny Boyle revealed.
He added the show would create “a picture of ourselves as one proud, undivided nation.”
“The best way to tell that story is through working with real people,” said Boyle, revealing that the ceremony will open with a parade of NHS nurses, Polish builders, traditional British civil servants and Scotch clansmen wearing their tartan regalia.
“We’re thinking about giving the audience scorecards, so that they can vote for their favourite national hero in the parade,” he added, a small trail of spittle involuntarily running from the corner of his mouth.
The set will feature meadows and hills, with families taking picnics, people playing sports on the village green and jolly farmers spraying the fields with industrial chemicals.
A river of sparkling gin and tonic will wind its way around the traditional British buildings in the set: a church, where a female vicar will be marrying specially selected gay couples; a village hall, complete with jam competition; and a working slaughterhouse, where the traditional farmyard animals will be turned into burgers and sausages for sale to the audience (£8.50 each).
One billion people worldwide are expected to watch the opening ceremony, and international news commentators are already practising sneering cultural superiority to compete with British coverage of previous years’ opening ceremonies.
The world’s largest harmonically-tuned bell will ring inside the Stadium to start the spectacle. “We’ve got real families to donate 900 pink-cheeked children from all the local boroughs,” said Danny Boyle, shifting in his jeans, “and what plans we have for them!”
Among the other features will be two bear-pits filled with benefit claimants, who will compete for their weekly hand-outs through a series of inventive gladiorial combats using hand-crafted British weapons.
“We really want this ceremony to be for everybody,” the director said, clouds of sulphurous smoke puffing from his nostrils.
The set will feature real grass, an oak tree and teflon clouds held up by a human pyramid of beggars and prostitutes. Black blood seeping from his eye sockets, the director explained: “We really wanted to make sure we gave something back to the community by providing a role to all those who might not otherwise be able to take part in the Games.”
When asked if they were going to give people their houses back, he said “What do you mean. Ha ha ha.”
The home nations will be represented in the set by titanic blood-red phalluses topped with a thistle, a leek, a rose and flax.
“We’re trying to represent everyone’s dreams in this ceremony, and I personally hope it will be a proud reflection of every individual in this great country,” said Danny Boyle, tearing the last remnants of the latex mask from his face to reveal the skeletal visage of Azathoth, Archduke of Hell.
The ceremony will close with the launch of ground-to-air missiles from the houses surrounding Olympic Park, detonating in a co-ordinated display of coloured lights that will rain burning nuclear death on the indifferent population below.