POM Partners

The Kiss of the Hand Gerolamo Induno

The Kiss on the Hand, 1877, Oil by Gerolamo Induno from a private collection. The painting is on a poster in front of the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters. This is the piece in the show where we see how the scene is set. Photo by M.C.

From the original couple Adam and Eve to dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Partners is the celebrated theme of 2016s Pageant of the Masters.

The Garden of Eden with the fall of man by Rubens and Brueghel

The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man, 1615, Oil by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Mauritshuis, The Hague, the Netherlands. Photo by http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl.

POM opens with The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Rubens and Breughel in Oil in a staged art gallery. Patrons study the painting. Eve gives the apple to a male patron and then next two patrons whip off their clothes and dance the tango. There is a lot of impressive ballroom dancing from Gary Franco and Cindy Ricalde.

Two of my favorite pieces La Belle De Nuit, c. 1900 by Edmond H. Becker and Butterfly Brooch, c. 1904 by Gaston Lafitte are enamel and gem butterfly brooches on the main stage. Taking pins and making them life-size and sparkle like diamonds, just amazing. You could see the belt on one of the butterflies move as she did shallow breaths.

I would think they teach the volunteers how to breath, hold their breath and blink. Sometimes they don’t breathe. And if they blink sometimes it’s a slow blink if they are able to control themselves.

Singin’ in the Rain poster (C) & TM Turner Entertainment Co.

It seems every year movies are a focal point. This year lithographic posters for Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers comes alive. The audience is thrilled by the poster for Singin’ in the Rain. A dancer comes out to do the famous dance in the rain with an umbrella as a police officer stares him down. “Gene” glides near a small stage where a man dumps a bucket of water on him. A drop hits me from the splash—that’s how close I am.

Detroit Industrial by Rivera

Detroit Industry, North Wall, 1932-33, Oil Fresco by Diego Rivera. Detroit Institute of the Arts.

I love the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera section, but the dancing seems to be filling in time and gets a bit distracting from the fine art. Towering skeletons (Frida and Diego) are rolled out to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. There is a lot of cheese, but your kids will love it. Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry mural is stunning as working men hold still.

The most impressive piece is The Dancers by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, a bronze statue of a man and woman, leaning back from each other holding hands. There is an inch of metal piping holding them up below one foot and up their back. One foot is in the air! Since they are in bronze paint they can’t move at all or the reflection will show breathing. No breathing could be seen in that long minute!

As always Pageant of the Masters is amazing! I am delighted to hear the harpist Amy Wilkins showcased. Our seats are in the third row, but I would suggest farther back so you can see the art above the smaller stage. Whether you sit close or far away you will still get the mystique of the Pageant.

This is always my favorite annual post since there is nothing like the Pageant. On the night of the show with your ticket, go to the Art-A-Fair and they will give you a pass for the rest of their fine art festival. Art-A-Fair is across the street close to the Sawdust Festival with more art. Then go back to the Festival of Arts and meander through the fine art until the Pageant starts in the same area. The gelato is good, but you can take your own snacks. On a Monday night, the parking ($7-$15) is open everywhere, but get there early.

Festival of Arts • Pageant of the Masters • 650 Laguna Canyon Rd • Laguna Beach CA 92651 • 1-800-487-3378

Comedy Of Errors with Cowbell

(from left) Glenn Howerton stars as Antipholus of Ephesus/Antipholus of Syracuse and Rory O'Malley as Dromio of Ephesus/Dromio of Syracuse in The Old Globe's 2015 Summer Shakespeare Festival production of The Comedy of Errors, directed by Scott Ellis, Aug. 16 - Sept. 20, 2015. Photo by Jim Cox.

Glenn Howerton stars as Antipholus of Ephesus/Syracuse and Rory O’Malley as Dromio of Ephesus/Syracuse in The Old Globe’s 2015 Summer Shakespeare Festival production of The Comedy of Errors, directed by Scott Ellis, Aug. 16 – Sept. 20, 2015. Photo by Jim Cox.

Jazz lovers, comedy lovers and fun lovers unite at the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre for Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Expectations are high for The Old Globe production, directed by Tony nominated Scott Ellis.

Usually the audience has to be so quiet listening to every word of a Shakespearean play, but Director Scott Ellis brings the fun. This show allows the audience to be more relaxed. The 1920s New Orleans atmosphere sets the tone from the stage, to the music, to the costume design. This is Ellis’ Shakespearean debut, but he has directed musicals, comedy, drama, classics and new plays. He had three Tony Award-nominated productions in 2015 for Direction of You Can’t Take It with You, along with On the Twentieth Century and The Elephant Man. Ellis’ name also might be recognized as executive producer for the television show “Modern Family.” He chose two named actors, Glenn Howerton, from FXX comedy, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and Rory O’Malley in the original company of The Book of Mormon.

This is a very physical play for the actors. O’Malley as Dromio sweats as he runs back and forth appeasing Howerton as Antipholus and Megan Dodds as Adriana, the duped wife. Dodds is expressive in her body language as she loses her patience in the situation. But, of course, there has to be mistaken identities—it’s a Shakespearean comedy. There are two Dromios and two Antipholus’, which the squirmy, Syracusan merchant Egeon (Patrick Kerr) explains their story with his handy dandy puppets, he happens to have in his suitcase. (Egeon is shipwrecked and has lost his wife and twin boys at sea.) One of the simpler moments is one of the funniest. Howerton walks on stage with a baguette in hand.

Scenic Design by Alexander Dodge in The Comedy of Errors. Photo by M.C.

Scenic Design by Alexander Dodge in The Comedy of Errors. Photo by M.C.

Bourbon Street arises from the stage or maybe it’s a miniature Disneyland New Orleans Square. Scenic designer, Alexander Dodge, colors the stage with two-story French Quarter buildings in pastels in soft lighting by Philip S. Rosenberg. In the middle, on a dais, a room turns revealing Adriana with her sister, Luciana in the dining room.

Costume Designer, Linda Cho, designed last year’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which had bright period costumes. I will never get the image of the cod piece out of my head. Colorful characters abound in The Comedy of Errors as a palette for Cho. Many in the ensemble are dressed as street people in 1920s New Orleans. With expressive eyes, Lindsay Brill lurks in her dress suit and hat, holding a fake dog. Another female ensemble member is dressed more or less as a gypsy and dreadlocks. Many of the men are in crisp, beige suits topped with hats.

A trumpet player sets the mood as he lingers through the street. Music director, Derek Cannon, incorporates a saxophone, trombone, clarinet, bass drum and various percussive instruments that include a cowbell for a seemingly impromptu Mardi Gras. Barrett Doss has a huge gospel voice. She pretty much brings church singing one word. I think it was Amen. I don’t recall, but I was like, “Whhaaaaat?” I want to hear the choir she’s singing in. And there’s more, Garth Schilling as the Courtesan is no stranger to being a drag queen. He is known as Miss Vodka Stinger, based in New York City. From the makeup to the belly to the singing he leaves it all on the stage and he is funny. As Schilling curves his, or excuse me, her jeweled hands down to her nether regions, she sings about needing a little steam down there. The eight year old in front of me whips her head toward her dad with her mouth open. It is a very cute father daughter moment, taking his daughter to see Shakespeare. Dad explained the show here and there.

There are too many “moments” to mention, but many of them will make you want to sing, laugh and cry-laugh in The Old Globe’s production of The Comedy of Errors.

The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101. Phone (619) 234-5623 tickets@TheOldGlobe.org