This year the Pageant of the Masters celebrates its 80th year by paying homage to the art of film. The Big Picture is a look at the masterpieces that have informed and inspired the films of the past and present. Everyone from Vermeer and Michelangelo to Rockwell and Hooper make an appearance, or two.
With an army of 150 volunteers, the Pageant is truly a unique representation of world-class art in action. With a year of planning and preparations headed by Artistic Director Diane Challis Davy, this majestic ship has set sail to take its passengers on a voyage that is like no other. From the moment the orchestra hits the first note (playing original scores) and the lights dim, we are treated to a visual spectacle that can only be seen in Laguna Beach. This year we see how great filmmakers like Kubric found inspiration in Gainsborough paintings for many of his films. Classic slap stick actors like Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd were represented both in 'tableaux vivants' (living pictures) and guest appearances (you'll have to watch the show to see how they pull that off!) Of course movie poster art gets the tableaux treatment from Alfred Hitchcock's classics Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest to Disney's first full-length animated film, Snow White.
One of the gifts of the Pageant is how Davy and her team manage to bring to light interesting historical facts that the audience may not have known. This year I learned how Bette Davis, a former Laguna Beach resident, volunteered at the Pageant in 1957 and how she was going to perform in one of the tableauxs, The Tragic Muse by Sir Joshua Reynolds, before scheduling conflicts prevented it. Davy included The Tragic Muse in this year's show as a tribute to the support that Bette Davis lent. As the lights shone down on the final tableaux, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, I smiled to myself thankful to have had the chance to be a passenger on another one of the Pageant's artful and inspiring voyages.
To board your ship to The Big Picture:
Pageant of the Masters
Showing now thru August 31
Tickets starting at $15
By Anne-Marie S.