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Posts Tagged ‘Danny Boyle’

I’m pretty sure I will never be a rock star. I will not experience the jolt of adrenaline pumped by the roar of an adoring crowd, nor be whisked past fans clamoring for an autograph. No photos of me will be emblazoned on the front pages of international press. Ebullient family and friends will not share the story of my meteoric rise to fame with everyone they know.

No, that is not my life, but it was that of my son Evan, albeit briefly, with his appearance in the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. You can read about his road to the Olympics here.

What was it like being part of the magic? Months of rehearsals in soggy London had come down to this, this spectacular night when the Olympic Games would be ushered in with style and panache for all the world to see. Here is the final rehearsal schedule:

The buzz had been building steadily about the event, although the participants largely kept the secret. Evan had told us very little about what was to come. But we knew with legendary director Danny Boyle in charge, we were in for a treat. Here he is giving directions at one of the rehearsals.

“He made each one of us feel like we were an important part of the event,” Evan said. “Everyone felt a sense of ownership, a ‘we’re in this together’ feeling. I was blown away by how thoughtful and intelligent he was. Every volunteer would tell you that Danny Boyle is personable, down-to-earth, involved and caring.”

Evan was in the Industrial Revolution segment, and here is his group getting into costume and makeup.

This is how he looked:

My normally articulate son has found it difficult to put the experience into words. “To sum up the experience is so hard. We spent six months practicing in the rain, in the cold, every weekend. There were times when we wondered if it would be worth it.”

After all these months of intense rehearsals, “we knew this was the last time we’d be together,” he said. We were excited for the show, but also felt a bit of sadness knowing that this amazing experience would soon be over.”

Backstage with the NHS nurses …

Back home, our family gathered around the TV to watch, and lo and behold, there he was! For a fraction of a second, perhaps, but that’s him, that’s my boy! Third from the left with the suspenders and rolled up sleeves.

The sky was aglow from the rings.

And in the wings, the athletes were waiting to go on …

Here is O Canada …

At the end of the unforgettable night, a ride home in the Tube with the NHS nurses …

This story has already become legendary in our family, and my rock star son will be telling it to his children and grandchildren someday. Will we see him in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics? I would not be surprised in the least.

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(Cue the booming drum) DUM, DUM, DUM, DUM …

(Cue the bugles) Dum, dum, de dum dum dum dum, dum dum de dum ….

Allow me to translate. That, my friends, is the thrilling and iconic Olympics refrain, which is giving me goose bumps even now. BECAUSE MY SON EVAN IS IN THE OLYMPICS!!

Is he a champion swimmer, you may be wondering. Does he run the 500 meter dash? Can he lift massive dumbbells above his head and grunt louder than Maria Sharapova in a tie-breaker?

My son, while gifted inĀ  many ways, is not an athlete. Well, not an Olympics-qualifying one. BUT what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in chutzpah. This cheeky chap, my first-born child, is in the Opening Ceremonies.

Evan lives in London and noticed a link on the London Olympics 2012 website for applying to be a volunteer. Thinking, what the hell, he clicked away and, long story short, he and 14,999 other hopefuls were invited to audition. “We were taught a dance en masse,” Evan said, “and then broke into groups of 10 and had to perform it in front of everyone as well as a panel of seven judges. For a non-dancer, it was pretty nerve-wracking!”

The number was whittled down to 4,500, and he made the cut. Rehearsals began in early May, and now, with just weeks left until the Games begin, the frequency of the rehearsals has ramped up to three times a week, roughly eight hours each time.

“The director, Danny Boyle, has been at every rehearsal and is very hands-on,” Evan said. “He speaks in soaring metaphors that somehow work and often goes off on metaphysical tangents which lead you to believe he’s either much deeper than us normal folk or much better at making up stories. Probably a combination.”

You may remember that Danny Boyle directed Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting.

Danny Boyle and Evan

Although he won’t yet reveal the details, Evan said that his group of 1,500 performers will appear in the first 15 minutes of the show. I’ll let you know more when he clues me in (he’s been sworn to secrecy so far). He won’t get special access to any of the events, but was able to snag tickets to many of the events, including the gold medal basketball game.

As the Games get closer, the excitement and anticipation are building. “It’s been draining so far,” he confessed. “My section has had the most rehearsals and I haven’t had a day off between work and this since the middle of May. However, since we moved into the stadium two weeks ago, adrenaline is kicking in. We’re starting to see the technology and pyrotechnics woven into our scene. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Through it all we tell ourselves that on July 27 we will be in the center of Olympic Stadium as 80,000 cheer us on and 2.5 billion around the world watch us. That’s what keeps us going back to rehearsals.”

He added, “I think it’s going to be extraordinary. I just hope I don’t trip.”

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