CULTURE

Questions and answers posted on the Internet

You have already stated that your efforts for the opening ceremonies are focused on presenting the organizing country’s spirit. What methods are you using in order to achieve this? Are you going to present Greece through traditional means or are you going to include contemporary elements? The ceremonies will narrate an ancient story through the use of modern means. They will present a dreamy spectacle inspired by Greek history and art, one that nevertheless will be approached from a contemporary angle and the use of state-of-the-art technology. What kind of structure will the ceremonies have? Will audiences be encouraged to participate? Audience participation will be a key factor for the creation of the right atmosphere in the stadium. The program’s structure is similar to those of the last three Olympic ceremonies – the content, on the other hand, will a surprise. Rumor has it that each of the opening and closing ceremonies will be more than three hours long. Will there be some kind of interval? No. Each ceremony will have a vast amount of different elements with varying atmospheres and relevance; time will fly. According to Olympic ceremonial tradition, the artistic touch will be more discreet during the formal part of the evening and dominant in the creative parts. How many people will watch the ceremonies? About 77,000 people will attend each ceremony at the main Olympic stadium, in addition to about 4 billion viewers worldwide, who will be watching the ceremonies on their television screens. Will Greek political leaders speak at the ceremonies? According to Olympic protocol, the only people who will speak are the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the president of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC). The president of the Greek Republic will follow, simply to announce the opening of the Games. Who are the protagonists of this show? There are thousands of participating interpreters, ranging from simple volunteers to international stars. The evening’s main protagonist, however, will be Greece, the homeland of the Olympic Games. Who participated in the development of these two ceremonies? The group includes Giorgos Koumentakis in charge of music; Sophia Kokosalaki on the costumes; Lili Pezanou on set design; Angeliki Stelatou, who was assisted by Fotis Nikolaou on the choreography; Lina Nikolakopoulou on the elements of speech; Eleftheria Deco, assisted by Theodoris Tsevas for the lighting; Athina Tsaggari for the videos, and Dimitris Papanikolaou’s assistants Tina Papanikolaou and Giorgos Matskaris. There are also Jack Morton executives, the company producing the ceremonies. What kind of services did Jack Morton provide? An international group of specialized and talented professionals with considerable experience in producing major public events; they are in charge of managing all aspects of the production. In 2002, the company was in charge of producing the Commonwealth Games in Manchester as well as the Salt Lake Winter Paralympics. They are also in charge of planning and producing the Melbourne Commonwealth Games which will take place in 2006. Are the participating artists, graphic designers, sculptors and dancers Greek? Almost all of the project’s creative force is Greek; about 95 percent. What was the inspiration behind Sophia Kokosalaki’s costumes? Sophia successfully designed a series of contemporary garments inspired by traditional Greek costumes. That was her inspiration and that is precisely what was necessary for this production. How does one organize 10,000 dancers and interpreters in order for them to work together and create one, unified image? Is there some kind of special technique? The technique used is a little bit like a tree’s branches: The choreographer trains the dancers, then the dancers train the volunteers; then they all execute the program together. Are volunteers and other participants getting paid? What happens in the case of professionals artists? Volunteers participating in the ceremonies are not paid – just like with any volunteer group. They are trained and taught by a number of leading choreographers and have the chance to take part in a unique experience. No Olympic ceremony could be executed without the talent, the energy and the enthusiasm of the thousands of volunteers. Besides them, however, are the specialists, professional artists working in specific creative fields who get paid. Furthermore, the big names, the stars who offer the time and talent for free, have their expenses covered. How should people move around on that night? Should they make their way to the stadium early? Definitely. This is why there will be a prelude, a special one-hour show for the stadium’s audience, which will end just before the opening ceremonies. In that way, all those who arrive at the stadium earlier will have a nice time.