Excitement and pizzazz are two aspects of spectacles that are not found here in London. Similar to the Lighting of the Shard and its underwhelming display of lights and lasers, the Fire Garden that took place outside the National Theatre disappointed not in spectacle but in expectation.
Large crowds were gathered around this warm and smoky display of what appeared to be lit, fiery tins ornately placed throughout a large space, with larger tiki torches lining a walkway through its center. I didn’t know what to expect. Usually with such a large gathering of people, some kind of performance or act will take place to draw excitement from the crowd and make the aforesaid spectacle something to be remembered. But maybe that is just an aspect to American spectacles and the grandiose way in which we go about performances, shows, and public displays. Because sitting there, in front of these lit torches, the only thing that remotely excited me was the simplicity and beauty of the display of flame and fire and how intricately and expertly it was placed in order to preserve public safety while still creating an artistic image.
This Fire Garden was not exciting or something that will impact me for the rest of my life, but it was something of beauty; a different form that relayed a message of hope and excitement for the huge event to come, the Olympics. The lit torches symbolized hope for success in Britain, and the burning desire to impress and succeed in the games. It served as a symbolic representation of lighting a path to that success and depicted a way of seeing the future and the happiness and success found there. As much as the spectacle underwhelmed in performance, it was the symbolic walking through the lit flames that made people realize with danger and uncertainty so close, possibility and opportunity still await on the other side, and that was the main theme of the spectacle that took place during the Festival of London; to accurately convey a symbol of hope for the amazing and world renowned spectacle to come.