The opportunities for art and entertainment in southern California are endless, but The Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach is arguably one of the most unique productions in California. I felt like it was a rite of passage in considering myself a Californian so I visited the production a few days ago and I was amazed and enchanted by ninety minutes of tableaux vivants (“living pictures”), incredibly faithful re-creations of classical and contemporary works of art, with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. What I saw, with my own eyes, on stage seemed physically impossible yet it was displayed before me. I’ll try to do it justice through photos but you’ll have to see it to believe it.
Our Pageant tickets entitle us to free unlimited admission to the Festival of the Arts grounds all summer long. We enjoyed original artwork by 140 of Southern Orange County’s finest artists, art classes, musical entertainment, art events, and dining at Gina’s Alfresco.
The 2014 Pageant of the Masters is on the case with “The Art Detective” revealing how lost treasures were discovered, where crimes of passion were uncovered, and how creative riddles were unraveled with a gallery of the world’s great masterpieces providing the clues.
A live narrator served as a guide through the story of each living picture accompanied by the music of a professional orchestra.
The first living picture was presented on stage and I didn’t get it. The painting was fantastic but I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Then, the next piece came out and the lights were off.
Did that person just move? Oh my God! No way! The people in that first “painting” were alive! These are actual, live people.
“Darren, they are real people. It’s not really a painting.”
Apparently, I was stating the obvious but I honestly had no idea. It was insanely cool. I still didn’t understand it fully, but I could see that the painting was 3-D with living people placed throughout the art.
A behind-the-scenes look at how the pieces were created helped me understand more clearly and watching a few of the people moving before the lights were adjusted brought it to reality, yet I was still awe-struck. The preparation to create each piece was incredible.
For an hour and a half, I sat wide-eyed and amazed. Watching living art become fixed before a live audience was so unique and creative that I truly felt like I was in the presence of the masters.
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