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Progression Of Ceremonial Ideas & Trends


baron-pierreIV

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I don't know...maybe this topic really belongs to the Ceremonies group on Yahoo -- but I hope it will elicit great discussion here -- or I'll have it locked up!!

Anyway, was watching the Melbourne 2006 CWG Opening Ceremony tonight and 2 major trends occured to me:

I. Flying elements. Not counting the doves and the fly-bys by jets of the host country, the flying or aerial elements (consisting primarily of hoisted performers, doing aerial ballets while supposedly floating in mid-air* -- to give the stadium spectacle an extra dimension), have become increasingly versatile and widespread in its use in the last 2 decades. With exponentially larger budgets, and a demand to see more daring, groundbreaking, innovative Ceremonies, one-upsmanship, it's become a recent phenomenon that the Ceremonial creators are availing themselves and pushing the envelope more and more to what's logistically feasible.

Let's trace the progression of flying elements (primarily, w/ human performers) thru the Olympics and other like, major Ceremonies:

1. Los Angeles 1984 - the Rocketman in the Opening; and the grand-daddy of all Olympic aerial stunts -- the alien spaceship!!

Correction: #2; Albertville - did employ a lot of legitimate aerial effects in both Opening and Closing (Altho they were part of a surrealistic, futuristic setting.)

3. Atlanta 1996 - the Rappellers at the very start.

4. Sydney 2000 - all the aerial ballets in Nikki Webster's dream (the undersea elements)

5. Salt Lake 2002 - the eagle (which was originally to be used in the 1984 LA Opening -- and tied in to LA's mascot, Sam the Eagle. But the first "Sam" died after the 1st rehearsal; and it was decided not to proceed with, since it was in Hollywood, Sam 2, so Rocketman filled in instead); and some aerial acrobats under the balloons at Closing.

[Also, starting with Salt Lake 2002, incognito skaters whose outfits erupt into pyrotechnic displays start a whole new trend. Torino had their Sparks of Passion -- which just worked so-so; and then Melbourne 2006 had about 40 skaters with outfits/backpacks erupting in fireworks, become the onstage Finale!)

6. Athens 2004 - the giant, exploding headache; Eros flying over the Klepedykstra(?) portion; and then the torchbearers representing the previous host cities

7. Torino 2006 - mid-air aerialists in the Baroque/Renaissance segment;

8. Melbourne CWG 2006 - the flying Melbourne tram; the boy stuck in the tower, the crazy koalas who try to rescue him with their flying machines; the ballerinas who bring the artistic portion to an end

9. Doha - might it have had aerial elements, too?

10. Rio 2007 - did Rio have people flying above the arena?

11. Beijing - certainly will have its share of this.

*quite different from say, the suspended acrobats of Torino, whose tethering was not disguised.

II. Story lines with children. Children have always been included in past Ceremonies; but recently, the concept of youngsters being the central character in the evening story line, helped clarify and focus a more delineated story line for the evening's proceeings:

A. Sydney - Typical Australian girl (Nikki Webster) and her surrealistic dream (undersea and melding with the Aborigines)

B. Salt Lake - unnamed boy (performer was Ryan Stanfield or something like that) led the Children of Light and unleashed the Fire Within. He also introduced the native American chiefs; led the way for the Entrance of the Athletes; and showed the way to the settlers. At Closing, he connected with the little girl who represented Torino/Italy for the next round (too bad this seque was not carried thru in more thorough detail at Torino).

C. Athens - well, the little boy and the boat -- but that story angle died there. It would've been nice if the boy connected with the other parts of the Ceremony.

D. Melbourne CWG 2006 - the boy and his duck!!

E. Doha - have not seen the Doha Ceremonies in their entirety, but I think there was (again) the story of a boy and his boat and a fanciful voyage (right?)

F. Beijing -- so, as someone has told me, they might start with the story of a boy and his friends, and their kites

G. Vancouver - little girls (time for girls -- maybe Robin Perry from Calgary will make an adult appearance) and their nightmares of Ilanaags? Their little Barbies have turned into these horrible inukshuks!! :lol:?

Comments? They better be good ones. <_<

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*quite different from say, the suspended acrobats of Albertville and Torino, whose tethering was not disguised.

There were actually a lot of flying elements besides the flying acrobats in Albertville:

  • the ski Jumper in the opening,
  • the angel blowing the Flame off in the closing
  • drummers in the air during the opening.

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How ironic, that despite the huge advances in ceremonies, imo, two of the most impressive features go back to LA84 with the rocketman and the spaceship.

Doha's opening had a number of flying elements. A giant falcon flew around the stadium and then picked up the seeker, they also planned to have boats in the air, but because of the weather conditions, i think they only did that in the run through.

I think another advancement has been the use of an overall concept. There is now often a common thread running through each opening ceremony, not necessarily a historical one either.

It's a more complex way of designing a ceremony.

Perhaps one new development is the exit of mascots from ceremonies, they were everywhere in Seoul, and of course we also had Cobi flying up in his silver boat at Barcelona's closing.

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You forgot the boy in Seoul who played with that ring on the empty field.

And in Doha, I believe there was a flying carpet -- in the closing ceremony, if I recall correctly.

No, I didn't forget the boy in Seoul w/ the ring -- and leading a parade of other Korean tots born on the day that Seoul won the victory in 1981. It just seemed like a filler and had no real significance to the overall Ceremony. Seemed almost like an after-thought. Perhpas if it were placed elsewhere, it could've carried more gravitas.

cfjeremie wrote:

There were actually a lot of flying elements besides the flying acrobats in Albertville:

the ski Jumper in the opening,

the angel blowing the Flame off in the closing

drummers in the air during the opening.

You're right. It's been awhile since I've revisited the Albertville Ceremonies. I espeically liked the idea of Angel at the end extinguishing the Flame.

Also, just viewed the film clips of Lillehammer's closing -- and there, it was an out-and-out story telling to the kids (and the royals), but man, was the presentation of the Evil Vetters really quite DARK. I mean they had these creatures who were cousins of the Aliens; and pre-cursors to the Orcs in the LOTR series; ravaging the white snow and all its purity. It was all rather prolonged and dark that I'd tuned it out from my memory bank for awhile. A total change from the whimsical nature of the Opening.

Vancouver - due to the Roof (which will carry a lot of lighting and be used for projections), I imagine any flying aerilists will be at a minimum. And I think, they will go for a big Ice show for Vancouver (since it will be enclosed), but there will still be some modest fireworks inside, working around the ice rink. Huge pyrotechnics will explode outside.

London should see a bit of flying elements. I imagine a whole horde of Mary Poppins, Peter Pans, James Bonds, Ms. Marple and Harry Potter wizards will descend on the field. London will be doing an incongrous mix of literary English icons known the world over (see above) mixed with the din of the rock, music world - the Beatles, the Who, Mick Jagger, (who are the other big English rock bands?) etc. Purely, my conjecture at this point. And the evening's festivities would end in a grand salute to the 60-year reign of QEII.

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I would want to add more about the children's usage at the ceremonies.

1- At Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony, during the great finale with the tenors concert, a boy apeared below the arch of the Marathon's gate, surrounded by smoke, singing the universally know tune of the Ode of Joy. Then, the tenors joined him and sung the finale of the Beethoveen 9th Symphony, with a fireworks show, concluding the OC.

...and in the closing ceremony, there was childrens, instead of adults, that carried out the olympic flag, while Placido Domingo (or it was Carreras?) performed the olympic anthem (at the OC it was performed by Alfredo Kraus)

2- Atlanta 1996 Closing Ceremony: A group of childrens of Atlanta performed a version of Celine Dion ''Power of the Dream'', moments before the extinguishing of the flame. In fact, here is the vid of that part:

3-Nagano 1998 - A lot of kids, dancing with that weird white costumes (each one with the colours of the participating countries) they also acted as some kind of ''placard'' during the parade of nations, along with that yokozunas.

And now, about the flying objects. There were no flying objects at Rio 2007 opening or closing ceremonies. This was because the Maracana roof (which is too old) can't support heavy weight (in fact, the sun-shaped cauldron was originally meant to be above the stadium, a la Busan 2002 Asiad)

In Doha 2006 Closing Ceremonies...yes, the same boy that performed at the OC participated also in the closing one, just after the Qatari anthem, he appeared with some weird guys from the Arabian Nights, he steped onto a flying carpet, carrying a torch (i think it was the original torch of the First Asian Games in New Delhi, 1951) and flying slowly into the cauldron, using it to light the torch. Then, he passed the torch to arab riders who ran away from the stage, and the cauldron was extinguished (something curious, it was the first time i watch that the cauldron extinguish at the beggining of the ceremony and not on the closing).

Yeah, there were a lot of flying objects at Albertville 92 OC. This was because there was some kind of structure at the center of the Ceremonies Theatre (something like the support of a Circus) which allowed the performers to fly. Since i'm still looking desperately for this complete ceremonies at the net, i find some pics of it, so you can got an idea of the system used here:

albertville1im5.jpg

albertville2oh6.jpg

albertville3ur1.jpg

1291029916as9.jpg

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I would want to add more about the children's usage at the ceremonies.

1- At Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony, during the great finale with the tenors concert, a boy apeared below the arch of the Marathon's gate, surrounded by smoke, singing the universally know tune of the Ode of Joy. Then, the tenors joined him and sung the finale of the Beethoveen 9th Symphony, with a fireworks show, concluding the OC.

...and in the closing ceremony, there was childrens, instead of adults, that carried out the olympic flag, while Placido Domingo (or it was Carreras?) performed the olympic anthem (at the OC it was performed by Alfredo Kraus)

2- Atlanta 1996 Closing Ceremony: A group of childrens of Atlanta performed a version of Celine Dion ''Power of the Dream'', moments before the extinguishing of the flame. In fact, here is the vid of that part:

3-Nagano 1998 - A lot of kids, dancing with that weird white costumes (each one with the colours of the participating countries) they also acted as some kind of ''placard'' during the parade of nations, along with that yokozunas.

And now, about the flying objects. There were no flying objects at Rio 2007 opening or closing ceremonies. This was because the Maracana roof (which is too old) can't support heavy weight (in fact, the sun-shaped cauldron was originally meant to be above the stadium, a la Busan 2002 Asiad)

Thanks for your contributions, rav3n. But for the children's angle, I wasn't just looking for their mere inclusion. I know they have been included in almost all recent Ceremonies. What I wanted to bring out was that in the last few Ceremonies -- starting with Sydney -- they used a child to tell and weave a story. As mattygs said in his post: There is now often a common thread running through each opening ceremony, not necessarily a historical one either.

It's a more complex way of designing a ceremony. That there is a story line.

It's easy and cloying to include children in the Ceremony, but it's a little more difficult to weave a dramatic narrative. And the use of children as the central character in the narrative, while touching, is now starting to become cliche.

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Exactly.

Originally. I think the addition of children in the performances of the ceremonies, was more about how great it was to include youth in general, as part of these celebrations. Now,. it is abit more touchy feely I think, children are our future bla bla bla.

Probably best illustrated in the theme and concept of the closing ceremony of the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.

'It is an often repeated truism that children are our greatest resource, and our future. Children are the future of the world, children are the future of our unique family of nations- the Commonwealth.'

This was to be the theme of the closing ceremony. Today's Games have come and now gone. Today's sportspeople have mixed with some joyous celebration, have helped improve the world and will go on to bring their influence to bear in their countries in the future. That influence will also cross national and cultural boundaries and help shape world events. Already these games have been a healing process; deep wounds from past political knife thrusts have been fully repaired by the balm of sport and the Commonwealth is stronger, healthier than ever. Those who are involved know that as long as these and other Games continue, there is a bright light burning, beckoning us to the future.

And so it is time to farewell today and offer a welcome to the next Games and to leave one final message: The future is today's youth.

Now, those interesting different overriding concepts have taken over ceremonies.

Instead of a kid, in melbourne, we had a boy and his toy duck. And from a boy and that toy duck, they created a story. Every segment now, seems to be more complicated. I mean, in Melbourne, we had an awesome segment featuring ballerinas and bmx riders. Themed around the chance encounters people will make at the Commonwealth Games.

In Athens, they didnt just show a travel through history, but managed to make the opening ceremony an Appolonic journey through art, with the closing being more of a bachus celebration.

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I forgot: I think the Highest aerial human act in the Olympics: Seoul unleashed some 60 skydivers to form the 5 rings in mid-air. I don't know exactly at what altitude they locked arms to "lock" the 5 rings -- but they all landed at the infield of Olympic Stadium.

Does anyone know at what height skydivers bail out and is safe?

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I don't know...maybe this topic really belongs to the Ceremonies group on Yahoo -- but I hope it will elicit great discussion here -- or I'll have it locked up!!

Anyway, was watching the Melbourne 2006 CWG Opening Ceremony tonight and 2 major trends occured to me:

I. Flying elements. Not counting the doves and the fly-bys by jets of the host country, the flying or aerial elements (consisting primarily of hoisted performers, doing aerial ballets while supposedly floating in mid-air* -- to give the stadium spectacle an extra dimension), have become increasingly versatile and widespread in its use in the last 2 decades. With exponentially larger budgets, and a demand to see more daring, groundbreaking, innovative Ceremonies, one-upsmanship, it's become a recent phenomenon that the Ceremonial creators are availing themselves and pushing the envelope more and more to what's logistically feasible.

Let's trace the progression of flying elements (primarily, w/ human performers) thru the Olympics and other like, major Ceremonies:

1. Los Angeles 1984 - the Rocketman in the Opening; and the grand-daddy of all Olympic aerial stunts -- the alien spaceship!!

Correction: #2; Albertville - did employ a lot of legitimate aerial effects in both Opening and Closing (Altho they were part of a surrealistic, futuristic setting.)

3. Atlanta 1996 - the Rappellers at the very start.

4. Sydney 2000 - all the aerial ballets in Nikki Webster's dream (the undersea elements)

5. Salt Lake 2002 - the eagle (which was originally to be used in the 1984 LA Opening -- and tied in to LA's mascot, Sam the Eagle. But the first "Sam" died after the 1st rehearsal; and it was decided not to proceed with, since it was in Hollywood, Sam 2, so Rocketman filled in instead); and some aerial acrobats under the balloons at Closing.

[Also, starting with Salt Lake 2002, incognito skaters whose outfits erupt into pyrotechnic displays start a whole new trend. Torino had their Sparks of Passion -- which just worked so-so; and then Melbourne 2006 had about 40 skaters with outfits/backpacks erupting in fireworks, become the onstage Finale!)

6. Athens 2004 - the giant, exploding headache; Eros flying over the Klepedykstra(?) portion; and then the torchbearers representing the previous host cities

7. Torino 2006 - mid-air aerialists in the Baroque/Renaissance segment;

8. Melbourne CWG 2006 - the flying Melbourne tram; the boy stuck in the tower, the crazy koalas who try to rescue him with their flying machines; the ballerinas who bring the artistic portion to an end

9. Doha - might it have had aerial elements, too?

10. Rio 2007 - did Rio have people flying above the arena?

11. Beijing - certainly will have its share of this.

*quite different from say, the suspended acrobats of Torino, whose tethering was not disguised.

II. Story lines with children. Children have always been included in past Ceremonies; but recently, the concept of youngsters being the central character in the evening story line, helped clarify and focus a more delineated story line for the evening's proceeings:

A. Sydney - Typical Australian girl (Nikki Webster) and her surrealistic dream (undersea and melding with the Aborigines)

B. Salt Lake - unnamed boy (performer was Ryan Stanfield or something like that) led the Children of Light and unleashed the Fire Within. He also introduced the native American chiefs; led the way for the Entrance of the Athletes; and showed the way to the settlers. At Closing, he connected with the little girl who represented Torino/Italy for the next round (too bad this seque was not carried thru in more thorough detail at Torino).

C. Athens - well, the little boy and the boat -- but that story angle died there. It would've been nice if the boy connected with the other parts of the Ceremony.

D. Melbourne CWG 2006 - the boy and his duck!!

E. Doha - have not seen the Doha Ceremonies in their entirety, but I think there was (again) the story of a boy and his boat and a fanciful voyage (right?)

F. Beijing -- so, as someone has told me, they might start with the story of a boy and his friends, and their kites

G. Vancouver - little girls (time for girls -- maybe Robin Perry from Calgary will make an adult appearance) and their nightmares of Ilanaags? Their little Barbies have turned into these horrible inukshuks!! :lol:?

Comments? They better be good ones. <_<

Don't forget the little girl (Rachel something) from the Atlanta 1996 Closing Ceremony leading the 600 children from Atlanta and Georgia singing a final rendition of "The Power of the Dream."

Or the Salt Lake City children singing "Happy Trails to You"

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Or the Salt Lake City children singing "Happy Trails to You"

What part was that? I must've missed it. But again, these are mere appearances. Am more keen on the Ceremonies using youngsters (or some new element) in their narrative efforts to take Ceremonies to a new level.

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I'm not sure, but maybe you can make yourself an idea of it with the video of that segment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIEpKIWaCKU

There was a video of it long time ago in Youtube, recorded from the same chopper where the parachuters jumped, but looks like it's deleted.

Thanks, Rav3n. Seoul really had the strangest OC because after the Athletes marched in; they kicked them out again, so that the Artistic portion could continue. If you notice on that video, the flame on the cauldron has already been lit. I'm surprised the IOC allowed it.

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What part was that? I must've missed it. But again, these are mere appearances. Am more keen on the Ceremonies using youngsters (or some new element) in their narrative efforts to take Ceremonies to a new level.

It's at the end of the closing ceremony, where the Children of Light sing to the balloons flying around the stadium. But I get where your getting at....in that ceremonies have progressed from just cultural portions to whole stories...which began with Sydney, but I have to say I liked how Atlanta progressed from City ("Welcome to the World"), to State ("Georgia on My Mind"), to Region ("Summertime") during their ceremony.

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It's at the end of the closing ceremony, where the Children of Light sing to the balloons flying around the stadium. But I get where your getting at....in that ceremonies have progressed from just cultural portions to whole stories...which began with Sydney, but I have to say I liked how Atlanta progressed from City ("Welcome to the World"), to State ("Georgia on My Mind"), to Region ("Summertime") during their ceremony.

Atlanta followed Barcelona's OC template very closely. Barcelona opened with local (Las Ramblas); then moved to the region (Catalunya; with the sardana); Welcome Protocol; then the nation - Spain, with the traditional Spanish dancing; and then the larger region again -- with the Mediterranean Sea sequence.

Atlanta opened with a Call to the past Olympic ghosts;

- followed by a little Welcome Protocol (head of state); then as you said -

- the youth and vibrancy of the young of Atlanta (well, the South really -- they recruited dancers from all over the South; plus those pick-up trucks symbolized a way of life of the 20th century South);

- OK, the state (but just the song though);

- and then the entire region (with the hokey, allegorical Sun - Moon - Spring story; and the butterflies, etc.,) And where they really stretched things was symbolizing the Civil War period with a 'Thunderbird Cloud'? :rolleyes: (What the hell is a 'Thunderbird Cloud'? I never heard of that.)

- And then the Ode to ancient Greece.

(All in all, still a memorable experience.)

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I dunno if it is so much a trend, or just something that has happened in a few of the recent pieces of stadium theatre , but there seem to be a lot less people involved. Or at least, the people are stretched alot more thinly between segments.

I think it ties in with the whole trend of a ceremony being very concept based now, instead of a bunch of random ideas. I think Athens and Melbourne were prime examples in this.

They had recognised that you dont need the field full of people to illustrate an idea or a concept. Instead, we have key *images* that make up the memorable moments in ceremonies, which create an emotional feeling, a patriotic feeling, an excitable feeling etc etc.

Athens 2004 did that by having very simple moments made up of very few people, which I will remember. The pregnant chick rising her arms up into the air with the stars floating skyward, a centaur standing alone, the chick holding the marble head in her hands.

In Melbourne, we had a tram in the middle of the stadium, we had a very minimalistic(people wise) Aboriginal segment, which was still very effective (as opposed to sydney's aboriginal segment having a big cast of people).

It is the idea that memorable moments dont need to include heaps of people to portray them.

I think alot of it has to do with people not involved in Stadium Theatre coming in to creative teams, and leanding their alternative ideas. And then, giving those ideas to the pro's in this field, to give live to those ideas. That is where we have the likes of Dimitris Papaioannou and Zhang Yimou, who arent from the school of Ric Birch, coming up with new *arty* ideas.

Other examples I could think of, would be the lighting of the Nagano cauldron. Not overly high-tech, but so elegant and simple. The emotion came from the fans unfurling, and a Midori Ito, almost void of emotion, rising up in traditional dress, to light the cauldron - which of course was followed by her having a cry as she lit it.

Even back to the finale of the creative portion of the opening ceremony of the auckland Commonwealth Games in 1990. We had a video message of welcome by Maori rights activist, Dame Whina Cooper, accompanied by a video montage of NZ landscapes. The final image of the video being the Kotuku (native NZ white heron and also thee symbol of the NZ1990 Celebrations) taking off in flight. And then the footage returning live to the stadium with a single white kite being released into the sky, written on it, a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi.

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I think it's all 'cyclical.' Like, of course, for many years, the principle seemed to be (as you said): let's fill the stadium floor with people and show some sort of mass movement. The ex-Iron Curtain countries and totalitarian regimes (No. Korea, China, GDR) were all masters of the MORE-is-MORE principle.

Western countries really couldn't match the 'free, patriotic :rolleyes: and cooperative' spirit of the Socialist citizens, so Ceremonies' creators (probably starting with David Wolper and Ric Birch for Los Angeles in 1984) had to jump stadium spectacle to another level: as you said, thematic and with a concept. And for the 1984 Opening, it was "The Music America (Gave the World)."

(I'll have to disagree with you on Athens. I found it cold (i.e., unemotional) and detached. It really didn't draw me in as much say as Melbourne 2006's show (or even the Manchester '02 Closing). Overall, my main comment was, and still is, there seemed to be no 'joy' in Athens' Ceremonies.)

I think what works best is a combination of both. I used to believe in big-budget, roadshow movies, you had to show the production values on screen. You couldn't have (back then) a $50 million production which only showed huts and living rooms (and wherein the $25 million went to Liz Taylor's salary or something off-screen like that. In something like "Cleopatra" or "Titanic," you saw the amount of money and design genius splashed on the screen in those eye-popping sets and magnificent costumes. You got your money's worth.) -- and still do. Same thing with Ceremonial stadium spectacle. You have to present something that the paying person does not see in his liviing room or school yard every day. So, indeed, thematic angles give the Ceremonies a very distinct, individual look, but there is still the need for MASS SPECTACLE to draw your breath away. Like, wow! How did they do that?

Plus, you can't host an Olympics or regional Games these days without knowing that you will have to engage several thousand volunteers who now want to be part of the Ceremonies. You're not going to have a London or Sochi Games without a few thousand youngsters and stage-struck wannabees knocking down your door and screaming: when are the first rehearsals? I mean, here alone on GB, a virtual site, we have all sorts of wannabe participants; what more when your city actually becomes the host?

So give me a whole stadium floor of 10,000 richly costumed performers twirling their thingy any day. I know they'll never fit in my kitchen and foyer. :D

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(I'll have to disagree with you on Athens. I found it cold (i.e., unemotional) and detached. It really didn't draw me in as much say as Melbourne 2006's show (or even the Manchester '02 Closing). Overall, my main comment was, and still is, there seemed to be no 'joy' in Athens' Ceremonies.)

Well I guess it's a very personnal thing because I feel the opposite. For me, Athens was one of the most emotional ceremony ever. But I have to say that being in the stadium -well at least for the final rehearsal- helps.

The Drums "dialogue" between the Stadium in Athens and Olympia was very powerful, the Alegory section where images were projected on the pieces of big head was quite moving. But the parts I liked the best are the DNA sequence (almost made me cry) and the olive tree. The entrance of the athletes was great (I like how they used deaf language).

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I dunno if it is so much a trend, or just something that has happened in a few of the recent pieces of stadium theatre , but there seem to be a lot less people involved. Or at least, the people are stretched alot more thinly between segments.

However, these segments only seem to look nice on television. Stadium spectators don't have the advantage of sweeping camera shots and zooming lenses. Sure, you can look at the giant screen, but nowadays they tend to be used not as a parallel TV broadcast feed but as part of the performance itself.

I've seen photos of the Athens 2004 opening ceremony taken by upper-deck spectators inside the stadium. The floor looks empty and the Clypsedra parade looks like a line of technicolor ants. When I first saw the start of the Allegory segment, I wondered how the woman holding the statue head looked like inside the stadium. With only a spotlight to illuminate her, I don't know if she was easily noticed by the people watching it live because of her corner placement and her dark dress.

You can get the best theatre actors to play the major roles in these ceremonies. They can twist their faces to show all the emotions that the creative director wants, but if the stadium spectators can only see their body then it's rather pointless.

Then again, the television audience (billions! advertising!) is more profitable than 80,000 spectators in the stadium.

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I've seen photos of the Athens 2004 opening ceremony taken by upper-deck spectators inside the stadium. The floor looks empty and the Clypsedra parade looks like a line of technicolor ants. When I first saw the start of the Allegory segment, I wondered how the woman holding the statue head looked like inside the stadium. With only a spotlight to illuminate her, I don't know if she was easily noticed by the people watching it live because of her corner placement and her dark dress.

I agree that the whole Clypsedra sequence, depending on where you were seating in the stadium, was better on TV than in the stadium.

On the other hand, TV didn't do justice to the double helix sequence and you couldn't feel on TV the power of the drums beats nor the heat from the Olympic rings in fire.

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The first time i watched the Athens 2004 OC (which unlucky i couldn't record because i was on vacation) i was totally confused. I was expecting some mass show with thousand of actors performing as spartan soldiers and a giant Troy Horse (anyway i think i'm going to see that in Beijing 2008, knowing Zhang Yimou...), but even if it wasn't nothing that i expected, it was much better. Totally artistic and with a strong message. I liked most the fire Olympic rings and the secuence of the Cycladic Head (sequences that i have uploaded again to Youtube in my new account), althought i was dissapointed with the lighting of the cauldron (altougth) the music was powerful)

The message of the russian and american astronauts after Bjork performance was probably the biggest surprise. But anyway this was done also at Moscow 80 opening ceremony (but with russian astronauts only)

The entrance of the athletes was great (I like how they used deaf language).

Something curious, they did some deaf language scene at Albertvile 92 too (maybe baron should know in what part of the ceremony was it)

S698.jpg

S700.jpg

S704.jpg

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Something curious, they did some deaf language scene at Albertvile 92 too (maybe baron should know in what part of the ceremony was it)

It was in the early part of the Ceremony. As you can see, it was still daylight. This might even have been the pre-show Show! But that's beside the point.

Also, going back to AthensI don't know what the hell the woman holding that head was all about, then all of a sudden a DNA materialization. Huh? The ancient Greeks knew nothing of DNA. How the hell did that get in there? There really was no clear narrative thread in Athens' OC (other than the parade of Greek history) - but which didn't include the 'Leonidas and the 300' episode.

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Also, going back to AthensI don't know what the hell the woman holding that head was all about, then all of a sudden a DNA materialization. Huh? The ancient Greeks knew nothing of DNA. How the hell did that get in there? There really was no clear narrative thread in Athens' OC (other than the parade of Greek history) - but which didn't include the 'Leonidas and the 300' episode.

Clearly you haven't understood a thing about Athens Ceremony...

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The bit wif the marble head and the reading of that poem is supposed to be all about the burden that Greeks bear with their history.

Much like the change of concepts of the ceremony. It was not so much an evolution of history through events, but an evolution of a though process.

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All this 'introspective' stuff which Athens used -- I just wouldn't do it that way. To me, any presentation (a play, a movie, a book, a painting, a logo) MUST be able to convey its MESSAGE clearly WITHOUT having to be TOLD what it is. Like that stupid logo of Vancouver, if one has to be told these are those far-flung piles of stone sh*t, then if I didn't get what was initially supposed to be conveyed (and I am a widely traveled, well-read, college-educated 'Renaissance' man), then the presentation FAILS. If I put up an abstract painting and go either with the traditional cop-out explanation: oh, it's whatever you think or make it out to be OR I have to put a legend to say: oh, this is. . . my foot in extreme pain, then my painting fails in its message, and I failed as a communicator.

Not wishing to rehash what's past -- but that's exactly how I felt about the so-called new, 'pseudo-abstract' concepts used in Athens 2004. :rolleyes: They failed to pass on their message and give me a good, old razzle-dazzle show any time where the creators leave no room for mistake or misintepretation with their message. And whether their message strikes a chord with me or not, that's another matter.

Another thing: Ceremonies are SPECTACLES...you SHOULDN'T have to think. These are not movies where you pay $9 or $10. These are LIVE spectacles where you pay hundreds of $$$s to witness something NEVER before assembled -- NOT 1 actor holding some cheap little prop which from a distant seat, as wingspread said: you couldn't possibly see anyway. I just hope that's the last of those pseudo, REALLY pretentious 'Ceremonies.'

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