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Oil Paint Meets Greasepaint

October 02, 2005|DINAH ENG

If art is a reflection of life, volunteer actors in the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach offer a unique look at some of history's most beloved paintings. The actors, who dress up and pose as living portraits onstage, say the annual festival also is a fun way to hang out with old friends and make new ones. We went backstage to broaden our palette.

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Christopher Lee Brazelton

Artist and fashion designer, 52

Laguna Beach

What painting are you in?

"The Last Supper," by Leonardo

da Vinci.

What is your character like?

I play Doubting Thomas. He was inquisitive, but he had a lot of doubts, and that got him into trouble.

How do you get in character?

I'm staring right at Jesus and feel like I've gone back in time. I try to feel what life was like back then.

What story is your painting telling?

To the audience who's read "The

Da Vinci Code" or those who haven't?

Are you a pageant veteran?

I've been doing it for 10 years. Four years ago they asked, "How would you like a place at 'the table' "? "The Last Supper" closes every show. You pretty much have to quit, die or mess up really badly to lose your seat at "the table." Some of the Apostles have been at it for 25 to 27 years.

What's your favorite painting?

I'd have to say a Salvador Dali landscape of a boat and the ocean. I can't recall the name.

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Lindsay Roybal

Student, 14

Laguna Hills

What painting are you in?

"Outside the House of Paquin," by Jean Beraud.

What is your character like?

I'm one of two beautiful girls in the front. The painting's about when they had horses and buggies. I think my character's really wealthy. She is headed shopping. I have a doorman.

How do you get in character?

I wear a corset and a five-layer dress, so you can barely breathe. I try to stand still and give an elegant look. People can't see you blink because they're too far away.

What mood are you conveying?

I think my character acts like she's better than anybody else. Others are probably jealous of her. She gets everything she wants.

What's your favorite painting?

I like "Outside the House of Paquin." I love anything to do with Paris.

Abstract art versus the Old Masters: Who rules?

The Old Masters. They can tell a story.

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Brian Wigdor

Staffing manager, 45

Mission Viejo

What painting are you in?

"Outdoors Blow the Summer Winds," by Carl Larsson.

What's your character like?

There are eight kids between an old man and a widow in the painting. I'm the old man. At least they have to paint the wrinkles on.

How do you get in character?

I sit for 45 minutes getting my face painted on. I'm a glorified prop. I love it. I've been doing this for four years. This is my wife's eighth year.

I subbed for someone. The next year, I begged the casting people

to let me in.

What story is your painting telling?

As the artist, Carl Larsson, put it, "Love, that's the solution to the puzzle of life."

What's the greatest painting

ever made?

Period? Or this year? Not that I can answer either question.

Abstract art versus the Old Masters: Who rules?

The Old Masters. They're classics.

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Tom Tischler

Business owner, 46

Laguna Niguel

What painting are you in?

"The Meeting" or "Have a Nice Day, Mr. Hockney," by Peter Blake.

What is your character like?

I'm overdressed. I'm greeting Mr. Hockney.

How do you get in character?

Those of us in the painting crack jokes prior to the lights coming on.

What do you like about the gig?

Meeting new people. Seeing people year after year. The bad thing about it is we're all sober.

What's your favorite painting?

I have a painting with 28 characters in it, a party scene. It's whimsical. It's 7 feet wide and 8 feet high. I commissioned it from artist Sandra Jones Campbell. The name of the painting is "Ricky and Dicky Arrive With Reservations."

Abstract art versus the Old Masters: Who rules?

The Old Masters. They had a passionate caring for what they were painting. Anyone can toss a can of paint onto a canvas.

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