A general view of the open theater with 2,600 spectators a few minutes before the start of the Pageant of the Masters show in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The pageant features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.

The Tableaux Vivants Festival

While it is commonly known that art imitates life, the Tableaux Vivants or Living Pictures invert the cliché. Since 1933, Laguna Beach in California has hosted a festival of living art, the Pageant of the Masters. The pageant features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.

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The art form of Tableaux vivants, or living pictures, originated centuries ago in Europe. They are paintings, statues, murals and other artworks, some of them from famous artists, past and present, re-created by live actors who pose onstage to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces and they do it with such exactitude that audiences cannot distinguish them from the original pieces.

The 90-minute pageant is held in an outdoor amphitheater. Professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have won recognition for the Pageant as the best presentation of its kind.

The theme of this year’s (2002) pageant is “Heroes and Heroines”. It pays tribute to past and present heroes. The theme was chosen by pageant director Diane Challis before September 11th, however in the wake of those tragic events, she’s even more aware of the added resonance of the term of “heroic”. Challis is now in her sixth year at the helm of the world’s premier presentation of Tableaux Vivants

The selection of artwork for this year’s theme ranges from the periods of Ancient Greece to today’s heroes. Hercules, Joan of Arc, Lancelot, Jesus Christ, Superman and firefighters are among the numerous heroes and heroines that inspired the 43 living pictures of this year’s performance.

Each year, more than 600 unique and talented professional performers and volunteers – musicians, cast members, costume, prop and set designers, backstage dressers, make-up artists, technicians and refreshment servers participate in this unique enterprise. Among them, some 500 are volunteers and contribute more than 60,000 hours to the enterprise.

All cast members are volunteers and some have been inspired to contribute by their parents and grandparents who participated or still participate in this non-profit operation. Some children take part in some of the living pictures. They work one week on, one week off.
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The theater is located at the Irvine Bowl Park in Laguna Beach. Its capacity is 2,600 spectators and is full during most of the nights of the festival, which runs from July 7 until August 31. An average of 250,000 visitors come each year.

To create such a spectacle, more than 200 feet (61 meters) of Velcro is used for fasteners in the costumes and on average, each costume requires three yards (2.8 meters) of unbleached muslin. Hundreds of gallons (1 gallon= 3.8 liters) of theater paint are used for the make-up. More than 150 pounds (68 kilos) and 300 pounds (136 kilos) of plaster for wigs, mustaches, beards and masks. Countless gallons of latex and neoprene are also used.

For the construction of the sets, polystyrene is carved into statues and other forms, more that 12,000 linear feet (3,660 meters) of lumber was used to build all the sets for the show and 100 gallons (380 liters) of top grade paint was used.

The Laguna Festival of Arts also features an exhibition of the work of local artists. Visitors can stroll through the alleys of the open-air exhibition to discover, admire and buy artwork. They can also listen to live music or get ready to attend the legendary spectacle of the Pageant of the Masters.

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A general view of the open theater with 2,600 spectators a few minutes before the start of the Pageant of the Masters show in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The pageant features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
01-2097-0291
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Cast poser Judy Parkers helps a cast member with his final pose in a living picture representing the famous sculpture  of late  US President Abraham Lincoln in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002.The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
02-2097-0116
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A stage worker in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002 pushes the dragon prop  used in the  living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the "Saint George and the  Dragon" sculpture E.Q.Assam (1721). On the left is the chair prop used in the living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
03-2097-0765
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The statue is live actor and is part  of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
04-2097-0471
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A cast member during the make-up session in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. Specific lines and colors are used to re-create the illusion of the characters in the original artwork. The Make-up artist uses a hand painted head model for guidance. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
06-2097-0725
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Cast members during the make-up session in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. Specific lines and colors are used to re-create the illusion of the characters in the original artwork. The make-up artists use a hand painted head model for guidance. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
07-2097-0716
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Stored on shelves are make-up paint and head models featuring the make-up colors and style necessary to re-create the illusion. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
08-2097-0612
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Cast members during the make-up session in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
09-2097-0807
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002 representing The Caryatids (430 BC),  a group of sculptures located on the southern side of the temple known as the Erechtheum on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. The statues are real live actors. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
10-2097-0302
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A technician rolls the set of a living picture or tableau vivant just before the lights are turned on in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The live actors can be seen taking their position in this re-creation of the painting "Unconscious Rivals" by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1893). They  are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
11-2097-0352
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Seconds later, the lights are turned on and the live actresses seem to be "painted" in this re-creation of the painting "Unconscious Rivals" by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1893). They are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
12-2097-0357
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A cast member is getting help in donning his costume.just before entering the scene in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002.  The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
13-2097-0008
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Cast posers  help actors with their final pose in a living picture representing the painting "Parson Weem's Fable" by Grant Wood in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
14-2097-0107
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing "Parson Weems' Fable" by Grant Wood (1939) in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The two figures on the left are live actors who are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
15-2097-0473
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Make-up station for the Superman character in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. Pictures of the original artwork, painted head models and precise written specification sheets are used as guidelines by the make-up artists to re-create the illusion of the original characters.   This one is for the  living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the painting "The Oath of The Horatii" by Jacques-Louis David (1784-85). The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
16-2097-0641
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The empty scene with all its props of the living picture or "tableau vivant" in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002 representing the painting "The Oath of The Horatii" by Jacques-Louis David (1784-85). The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
17-2097-0762
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the painting "The Oath of The Horatii" by Jacques-Louis David (1784-85) in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. Five figures out of the eight are live actors and  part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
18-2097-0312
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the famous painting "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci (1495-98) in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. All figures are live actors and are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
19-2097-0527
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Three casts members  wait to be called to go on stage in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. The television unit  in the background is connected to a camera that  keeps them informed of the situation onstage. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
20-2097-0063
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing two paintings: Left is "His Everlast" by Tony de Carlo (1998) and right is "Fighter And Manager" by James Weeks (1960). All figures arel live actors and are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
21-2097-0484
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Cast members ready to go on stage wait to be called by the stage director in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
22-2097-0782
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing covers of comic books featuring super heroes Superman and Supergirl in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. Five  figures are live actors and are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
23-2097-0340
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Backstage with a worker who sprays some black paint on the floor in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 24, 2002. On the right is the horse used in the living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the "Saint George and the  Dragon" sculpture E.Q.Assam (1721). The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 24, 2002
Filename:
24-2097-0763
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A living picture or "tableau vivant" representing the "Saint George and the  Dragon" sculpture E.Q.Assam (1721) in Laguna Beach, CA, on July 23, 2002. The figures are  live actors and are part of the 2002 Pageant of the Masters "Heroes and Heroines" in Laguna Beach, California. The Pageant of the Masters features tableaus vivants which are a theatrical re-creation of the world's great art masterpieces on various stages using live actors painted into the backgrounds.
Title:
Tableaux Vivants Festivals
Date:
July 23, 2002
Filename:
25-2097-0424
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