First off, when you go to Pageant, there are more males in skirts than any Celtic music festival. When your role is being a Nephite, slacks are not an option. :) And in this part of the state, they are much more fasionable than kilts. You go to Nauvoo for kilts (or so I have heard).
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to go see Pageant for the first time. I’d visited the sights in Palmyra and Fayette Co. : the E.B. Grandin Building, the Sacred Grove, the Joseph Smith Farmstead, the Peter Whitmer farm, as well as the Palmyra Temple grounds.
I was also very excited since quite a few of my friends were in the Pageant cast.
Pageant tells such a wonderful story, and I found myself rather sad as the lights dimmed for the last time. There is always a sweet feeling surrounding the Hill Cumorah, but it was especially joyous as people congregated to watch this wonderful performance. There is so much heart in the portrayals of the story of the Book of Mormon. It is hard to express adequetely.
Pageant tells such a marvelous story – one of faith, hope, and perserverance. So much heart surrounds that stage, it is almost as though a dome is placed over the grounds. No one – not even the rowdy protestors – can pierce that dome.
As I have said, it was a really amazing experience. I’d heard so many stories about Pageant and all the hard work that goes into it, it was really something spectacular to see it all come together seamlessly (or it was from the audience’s point of view – I’ll admit I’ve heard some horror stories!).
The next day, after visiting the E.B. Grandin building and before stopping by the Sacred Grove (more on that later), we had the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at Pageant. Mama Bird (a.k.a. Sister Wilcox) got us visitor’s passes to explore the cast-only areas of Hill Cumorah. Can I just say, it was so cool??!!
We got to go into the dressing areas and see the perfectly organized chaos that goes along with costuming a bajillion and two people. I found it amazing that no one – from what I heard anyway -uses any patterns to create the costumes. And yet every one looks stunning. From Emma’s dress to Lehi’s robes, each piece is so detailed, which really surprised me because you don’t really see all that detailing from the audience. I gues that just goes to show how awesome Pageant is!! There’s love EVERYWHERE!
And may I say, I have nothing but admiration for those cast members who walk around in 90 degree weather clothed in wool??
We also got to visit the sisters who create all the facial hair for the men and are in charge of the wigs for the entire cast. Their patience just floods that temperature controlled room of theirs. There are some trade secrets I can’t share, but I will say this: it takes about 40 hours to make a single beard, and at least 8 to make a mustache. Patience, patience, patience! It makes me rather envious, imagining what I could do with just an ounce of their patience!
And, oh my, if I could be a fly on that wall when they are dressin up all the men and boys! Apparently, those are the most easy going males on planet earth if the’re able to withstand having their hair done every evening. And that’s not to mention the pine sap stuff that they get put on their faces to adhere their facial hair. It smells to high heaven! (and to remove it, isopropyl alcohol is used… perhaps they no longer have a sense of smell from June through July?)
I think my favorite part of our little ‘backstage tour’ was getting to see the robe that is used for Christ. That is a genius piece of workmanship right there. You have to have a way to hide the harness he is lowered with, make the white of the fabric bright enough, and be able to hide him until the right moment. It is the most insane/genius sewing I have ever seen in my life (oh, and a lot of Meghan-esque hand gestures accompanied that little rant. Apply those in your mind, if you will).
My only thought was this: next year can we give Joseph Smith a darker outfit? Not one robin’s egg blue? I understand the point of having him stand out from the rest of the people on stage, but he didn’t really need to glow. How about a nice green, or a respectable brown? That would be splendid, thanks! :)
But whatever Joseph Smith is wearing, one thing is clear… I’ve caught the Pageant fever.
PS- Ignore my cornflower blue nail polish in the first photo, please. Blue nail polish is to me, as crimped hair was to the nineties… somewhat ridiculous looking, but oh-s0-fun at the time. I assure you, I will probably look back at some point with an awkward grimace/grin. That will be my punishment.