The finer details of the opening ceremony of Rio Olympics, like all other game ceremonies in the past, remains a closely guarded secret. What is not so secret is that the ceremony costs 12 times less than its predecessor London 2012 and 20 times than Beijing 2008. With Brazil’s growing economic woes, the organisers are prepared to make do with the budget allocated and stretch every Real at their disposal. The Guardian reported that Italian executive producer Marco Balich and creative director Fernando Meirelles will improvise for the ceremony like MacGyver, a secret agent who used everyday items to escape from dangerous situations in the hit TV show.
The other problem facing the organisers is the ceremony venue — Maracana stadium. The stadium was renovated for the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil. Primarily built for hosting football games, the stadium doesn’t have an athletes track surrounding it, thus limiting the use of floor space. The stadium also does not have a big entrance, forcing the organisers to limit their creativity and make do with smaller props. “The Maracana has one big problem which is there is no entrance. There is one door which is not big and four normal doors. So if you want to take something big in you can’t. We can’t have any machinery, so we are doing it all on the ground,” Meirelles told The Daily Mail.
With no track, it remains to be seen how the organisers will manage the march of the athletes from over 200 countries. Despite all the song and dance, this is usually the most watched part of the event.
The only advantage of hosting the ceremony is the number of people the Maracana can accommodate. With a seating capacity of at least 80,000, the ceremony will see 6,000 volunteers take part in the show. Brazil’s celebrated choreographer Deborah Colker has choreographed the dance sequences for the opening ceremony. What still remains unclear is who will light the Olympic cauldron on the night. Brazil football legend and three-time World Cup winner Pele was invited by the IOC to do the honours, but he might stay away from the event due to sponsor commitments. It will, however, be difficult to beat London 2012, when Daniel Craig, playing James Bond, and Queen Elizabeth II parachuted into the stadium to light the cauldron. The ceremony will still retain a bit of British touch with veteran actress Judi Dench, who played ‘M’ in the Bond series, roped in to recite a poem by Brazil poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade.
The ceremony will focus on global warming, emphasising the need to protect our environment. According to Abel Gomes, another executive producer, the ceremony will highlight the country’s diversity at a time when the presidential elections in the US saw the divisive message sent by the Trump campaign and Britain’s exit from the European Union. “The message that should be taken home from the ceremony is the importance of tolerance. The political situation here [in Brazil] is also tense,” Meirelles told The Guardian.