Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another Kind of Creativity: Pageant of the Masters

My husband and I attended the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California, with some friends earlier this week.

I found it utterly fascinating--not just because of the amazing effects of bringing classic artwork to life accompanied by music--but also because of this year’s theme: Genius.  This show added the extra element of combining science, and many geniuses who developed amazing scientific premises and creations, with art.

Some of them really belong there.  For example, did you know that Samuel F. B. Morse, who invented the Morse Code, was also an artist?

There were depictions of everything from Dutch Masters to Michelangelo to Rodin and van Gogh.  The emphasis was on science and creation, and among the highlights were the artwork at the end of the first act which dealt with astronomy, including the fa├žade of the local Griffith Observatory, paintings depicting Copernicus and Galileo, and delightful representations of planets.   Even Norman Rockwell had a place in the Pageant, although his stuff is a lot less serious than most of what was shown.

The Pageant of the Masters is in a vast outdoor theater.  It depicts the artwork it features in amazing tableaux that resemble paintings or sculptures--and a lot of the people shown on the large stage and its surrounding area are real, live volunteers wearing makeup and costumes to make them look exactly like the people depicted in the artwork they represent.  I’ve no idea how they stay so still for so long--especially in the poses they must take on.

We rented binoculars for Act II, so we were able to see better that sometimes only real people’s faces were in the artwork, but even so the motionlessness was astonishing and the backgrounds worked well.

The artists represented were wonderfully creative.  So were the scientists represented in some of the acts.  And so were the musicians accompanying the tableaux and narration, including a wonderful opera singer, as well as all the many people who put this whole thing together.

It’s an amazing show--something to see if you ever happen to be in Southern California in the summer.  It’ll hopefully be here when you’re around.  This is the Pageant’s 80th Anniversary!

Have you ever seen the Pageant of the Masters?  Do you know of any similar kind of show?


Betty Hechtman said...

I have heard the Pageant of the Masters is fantastic, but haven't seen it yet.

Janie Emaus said...

I've always wanted to go. One of these days I have to get down there.

Linda O. Johnston said...

It's definitely worth seeing, Betty.

Linda O. Johnston said...

It's fun to visit Laguna Beach, too, Janie--and then head up the hill to the art display and the Pageant.

Sparkle Abbey said...

Linda, it's definitely on our list! Would love to see the Pageant of the Masters. Sounds fascinating.

Linda O. Johnston said...

It really is a fun thing to see if you're in Southern California while it's playing--which is a lot of the summer!