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April 12th, 2009 · No Comments · Home, Muse Happenings and Events


Laguna Beach, CA – There is no downtime for Diane Challis Davy, the director of Laguna’s world-famous celebration of art in tableaux vivants – “living pictures” – the Pageant of the Masters. Even before last summer’s sold-out run of All the World’s a Stage closed, Challis Davy was meeting with her volunteer research committee and longtime Pageant scriptwriter Dan Duling to brainstorm about the production for summer 2009, The Muse. As always, Challis Davy’s enthusiasm is infectious.

“All the World’s a Stage was all about the joy of stage performance and the timeless excitement of the theatre,” the director said. “In The Muse, we’re going to dig deeper into the psyche to discover who or what motivates artists to create.” In ancient mythology, the Muses were the nine lovely daughters of Zeus and the Goddess of Memory. They personified the mysterious and, as some have described it, the “feminine,” process of inspiration, getting in touch with one’s inner wellspring of creativity. For Challis Davy, that’s something worthy of closer examination.

“Not all inspiration is divine, nor does it appear out of nowhere in a blinding flash,” she offered. “Behind every masterpiece is a story of fascination, love, passion and obsession.” For French impressionist Claude Monet, his wife was both muse and model for many of his most famous works. By contrast, Paul Gauguin’s travels to the South Seas radically transformed his art in bold, new ways. Paintings by Monet, Gauguin, Salvador Dali and Maxfield Parrish will be among the more than 40 artworks re-created on the Pageant stage in The Muse.

Every artist’s journey is uniquely dramatic, sometimes heartbreakingly so, as in the story of French sculptress Camille Claudel whose works will also be featured. Claudel’s art will be part of a larger tribute in the 2009 Pageant to the often under-appreciated contributions of women artists, including Frida Kahlo, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt and others. “Women artists will surprise you,” Challis Davy noted. “They have had more than their share of obstacles to overcome and conventions to break.” In telling some of those stories, The Muse will offer both dramatic and comic counterpoint to centuries of art in which women have been repeatedly depicted as little more than pretty ornaments or helpless damsels in distress.

While assembling a stunningly beautiful and varied program of paintings, sculptures and decorative art for The Muse, Challis Davy once again promised a few theatrical surprises in the works, an essential part of this extraordinarily popular show that continues to excite audiences with its unique combination of artistry and stage magic.

For more information, see The Muse…


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