Perhaps one of the oddest and yet most entertaining spectacles in the art community is the annual Pageant of the Masters at Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts. If you haven’t heard of it, allow me to enlighten you: the Pageant of the Masters is a show in which actors recreate famous pieces of art. A “living picture,” if you will, according to the Festival of Arts website. Though it may sound extremely odd, the Pageant of the Masters is actually an amazing tribute to some of the most famous works of European and ancient Mediterranean art.
Here are some bare-bones facts about the Pageant of the Masters:
-Each year has a new theme, and the ninety-minute pageant runs nightly for a little over a month every summer.
-The works depicted in the pageant change every year but are generally European and American and typically include Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and a recreation of ancient Egyptian architecture (like the Temple of Ramses II).
-A live orchestra accompanies the depictions to give the pageant musical structure.
-The outdoor theater where the Pageant takes place includes a complex where local artists showcase their work as part of the larger Festival of Arts as a whole.
According to the event website, this year’s pageant, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” will “explore the many sources of happiness, both ancient and modern, through [the] theatrical production of ‘living pictures’.“ The ninety-minute production will include depictions of “pastimes and activities that gave people joy.”
I had the privilege of attending last year’s show, “The Art Detective,” which showcased depictions of famous works of art with a history of intrigue–think Monuments Men–which was absolutely stunning. This year’s production is certainly going to be just as intriguing! If you’re going to be in Laguna Beach at any point this summer, I would highly recommend checking it out.
This year’s show runs until August 31st. Check out the Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters website for more info and tickets.