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Olympic opening ceremony will be full of surprises

By Peter Barker (Xinhua)

10:06, July 27, 2012

LONDON, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The best kept secret of the Olympic Games at the moment is what the opening ceremony will be like, but from the details revealed by the Olympic authorities and partially leaked by some of the performers, it looks set to be spectacular and with a dash of British humor thrown in.

The ceremony at the Olympic Stadium will be in front of an audience of 80,000 spectators, some of whom have paid 2,012 pounds (about 3,120 U.S.dollars) for their seats.

The director is British film and theater director Danny Boyle, who won the best director Oscar for his film "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2009.

One of Boyle's 2010 theater productions, "Frankenstein" at the British National Theater in London, featured a large church bell, and that theme has been picked up for the opening ceremony, where Europe's largest bell -- cast especially for the event at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry just five kilometers from the Games site -- figures prominently.

The bell fits Boyle's "Isles of Wonder" theme for the ceremony. Photos of a scale model of the stadium arena during the ceremony show a set of typical British landscapes, with a patchwork of fields and rural scenes.

Local media has also reported that there will be depictions of the industrial revolution, to mark Britain's historic record as the first country to industrialize.

The newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' reported that one of the stories that would be told in the ceremony would be a typical British Saturday night out partying and drinking for a pair of female friends, who organize their evening using social media to escape their parents who don't want them to go out.

This story gives Boyle a chance to showcase British popular music over the past 50 years, many of whose stars -- like the Beatles -- are known across the world.

The ceremony will use 25,000 performers, and several farmyard animals too, and will cost 27 million pounds (about 41.9 million U.S.dollars), and one of the elements that will certainly be in it is the entry of all 204 competing teams into the arena.

The opening ceremony is reported to start at 9pm British summer time and run for three and half hours. About an hour and a half of this time will be taken up with the arrival of the 204 teams.

All those who have taken part in rehearsals for the opening ceremony, including the audience, were asked to keep the details secret and very little has leaked out.

But one thing has constantly been mentioned -- the show will be funny and contain some typical British humor.

It's not clear what that will mean -- will it be visual, or slapstick, or witty, or ironic?

All of those can be characteristics of British humor, but the final test will be does the watching audience of billions around the world find it funny.

(One pound equals 1.55 U.S. dollars).

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