S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Opening Ceremonies

I finally watched the opening ceremonies for the BC Olympics last night, before it expired on iPlayer. They were lovely. Occasionally, they were gripping, compelling, and moving. Mapping the structures of the current Olympics onto what I see being built every week at Stratford was an interesting exercise, but a minor part of the experience of watching.

If I had to choose a single visual highlight, I would go with the whales. They swam in and out of the projected ocean deeps, surfacing to blow real water from their spouts in a glorious mix of light and air. Other images still with me: the fields of golden wheat, the torrent of ocean cascading down the audience, the storms, and, outside and earlier, the incredible opening sequence of snowboarding in gentle curves down the pristine slope of a towering Rocky mountain.

As part of the visuals, I loved the use made of the audience and their welcome packs. The white ponchos which transformed the spectators into part of the screen. The candle-bulbed flashlights which fused seamlessly with the lighting effects during k.d. lang's Hallelujah rendition. The drums of welcome which echoed the enormous one in the center being used to welcome the parade of athletes - *early* in the ceremony, so they all had time to watch the performance too.

Word-wise, the Spoken Word Olympics winner almost moved me to tears; perhaps it was that it was late, or I'd been set up by the emotional journey of the rest of the evening. But he did. With the huge expanse of golden grasslands fresh in my memory, I felt I'd left behind newness and possibility for a dense, layered country, old on older, in which life is not for creating afresh but for reliving in the footsteps of everyone else. Which, now that it's tomorrow, is ridiculous, since I love old-on-old and the layers of history, and we all live as humans, over and over, and we all make the world anew.

The moment which most filled me with glee was seeing and hearing Ashley MacIsaac and the rest of the fiddlers perform, surrounded by cealidh dancers. I now want albums by all the rest of the fiddlers too. Lots of great, showy-but-wearable outfits amongst them. Of course he played the role of the devil.

It's meant to be an event to inspire, an event which says, "Go forth, conquer your fears, do the best you can, and be amazing!" The downside is that I then went to sleep feeling that fear was my biggest impediment to achieving my daydreams in life. Perhaps it is, but that doesn't mean that time, money, distance, connections, energy levels, and health aren't factors too. Today, I shall go forth (more accurately, stay home) and do my job. Perhaps tomorrow I'll get around to conquering the world.
Tags: olympics

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