Thomas Alva Edison once famously said, “Genius in 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Director Diane Challis Davy knows well the effort required to turn her inspiration into the Pageant of the Masters—the famed theatrical celebration of art in “living picture,” tableaux vivants—this year themed “The Genius.”
According to Challis Davy, the theme grew out of “The Muse,” the pageant’s 2009 edition. “That show examined women’s roles in making and inspiring art and was selected from a feminine point of view,” she says. “I thought it would be interesting to craft a ‘companion’ show, one with a masculine sensibility, focusing on the power, strength and intelligence inherent in masterful works of art.”
The relationship between art and technology is the secondary theme. “I’m curious about the materials and techniques used by the old masters,” says Challis Davy. “One hundred fifty years ago, artists had to make their own paints! You almost had to be a chemist or alchemist. And I’m fascinated by the huge roles played by developments in optics and photography in painting realistic works.”
In contrast to last year’s escapist whimsy, the event fetes artists such as Michelangelo and Vincent van Gogh whose masterpieces have withstood the test of time. “Maestros of Music” pays tribute to composers, “The Stars of Astronomy” to scientific innovation. Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” with rare exceptions the finale since 1936, returns.
When asked what special effects might be in store, Challis Davy hints at advances in sound design and digital projection and hopes for unexpected light effects”—but adds, “Sorry, no 3-D glasses.” 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 800.487.3378 foapom.com