The night we saw our mad, fantastical dreams come true | Frank Cottrell Boyce | Comment is free | The Observer

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The Morning After

Frank Cottrell Boyce reflects on his part in the planning of the Olympics Opening Ceremony:

It's the morning after the opening ceremony. For two years I've felt constipated with secrets, but last night was a pyrotechnic act of confession, and I feel elated. At last I don't have to talk about "Betty" any more. Betty was the code name for Thomas Heatherwick's beautiful, delicate Olympic cauldron. She was named after the executive producer's dog. And so we were liable to get strange messages about "going to visit Betty" and "what to do if Betty malfunctions" and even "burning Betty". For the last two years I've been going round bragging about being the writer on Danny Boyle's opening ceremony. The usual response is: "Wow!" followed by: "Errrm, what do you mean?" Which is what I asked Danny when he first asked me. "I don't really know," he answered.

But he did know who he wanted. He put together a little team - including the designer Mark Tildesley, the costume designer Suttirat Larlarb, the visual effects wizard Adam Gascoyne. He'd worked with them all before and over the next two years they all worked on Frankenstein at the National Theatre and shot a film, Trance, together. They worked so closely they were practically a hive mind. My job was to join up the ideas in a way that the non-hive dweller could understand.

Danny created a room where no one was afraid to speak, no one had to stick to their own specialism, no one was afraid of sounding stupid or talking out of turn. He restored us to the people we were before we made career choices - to when we were just wondering.

We shared the things we loved about Britain - the Industrial Revolution, the digital revolution, the NHS, pop music, children's literature, genius engineers. I bought Danny a copy of Humphrey Jennings's astonishing book Pandemonium for Christmas and soon everyone seemed to have it. The show's opening section ended up named "Pandemonium".



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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on July 29, 2012 9:12 AM.

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