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bernadette peters
SEC: Arts DT: 10-06-2013
ZN: 1 ED: 1
PG #: 1
PG: Cover_K
BY: sring TI: 10-04-2013
15:58 CLR: C
K
Y
M
SUNDAY, OCT. 6, 2013
ARTS
‘G&ods I
A Bowers Museum exhibit of spiritual objects
draws from around the world and is the largest
selection of works ever to leave Vatican City.
By RICHARD CHANG • ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Gifts’
f you’ve ever been to Vatican City, you know
that the museums there are a massive, labyrinthine complex.
The Vatican galleries – which average
20,000 to 30,000 visitors per day – are chockfull of ancient art and artifacts, many of them
priceless. The 13 museums contain more than
160,000 objects, collected by the Roman Catholic Church
since the 16th century. Ultimately, the maze of hallowed
halls lead to the crown jewel – the Sistine Chapel, featuring Michelangelo’s triumphant ceiling frescoes.
SEE ‘GODS’
RIGHT: Thanh
Tang (Ananda),
from 1 8th- to
1 9th-century
Vietnam, is made
of wood, lacquer
and pigments.
Ananda is believed to be
Buddha’s first
cousin and one
of his most
important
disciples.
●
PA G E 7
BELOW RIGHT: A Ritual
Crown (Yanggwan), from
1 9th-century (Joseon Late
Period 1 392-1 9 1 0) Korea,
is made of horsehair, silk,
paper and gold powder.
BELOW: A 1 9th-century
Lidded Bowl from the
Marquesas Islands, French
Polynesia, is made of wood.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JORGE MEDINA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER; PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM AND COURTESY OF VATICAN MUSEUMS, VATICAN CITY
BERNADETTE PETERS
Don’t miss the dazzling star of stage, screen and
television in this one-night-only concert event!
THIS FRIDAY!
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
ORDER TICKETS TODAY!
TTY (714) 556-2746
(714) 556-2787
SCFTA.org
Group Services (714) 755-0236
OCT 11
AT 8 P.M.
RENÉE AND HENRY SEGERSTROM CONCERT HALL
SEC: Arts DT: 10-06-2013
ZN: 1 ED: 1
PG #: 7
PG: PageS_K
BY: sring
TI: 10-04-2013 16:00
CLR: C
K
Y
M
ARTS
Orange County Register
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 Arts 7
1
‘GODS’
F R O M PA G E 1
The Vatican Ethnological
Museum is one of the key institutions within the Vatican Museums, with 100,000
objects from every corner
of the globe. That collection
started in 1692, and the museum was established by
Pope Pius XI in 1926.
For more than 80 years,
the museum has held fast to
its treasures, occasionally
loaning a few objects to other institutions. This year
marked a breakthrough,
when the Vatican Ethnological Museum allowed 36 objects to travel to the de
Young Museum in San
Francisco.
Now, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana is showcasing 65 sets of indigenous
spiritual pieces from the
Vatican Ethnological Museum, including the objects
on view at the de Young.
Most were gifts to the pope
or the Catholic Church.
“Gods & Gifts: Vatican
Ethnological
Collection”
runs through Feb. 9.
For the Bowers, achieving this agreement with the
Vatican and exhibiting
these works are something
of a coup. It’s the largest selection of works ever to
leave Vatican City.
“We try to bring the great
collections of the world to
the people of California, and
the Vatican is always high
on the list of places to try to
connect with, to bring a major exhibit,” said Peter Keller, president of the Bowers.
“I really never knew how to
get started, because the
Vatican is a huge institution. But last winter, last January, the de Young Museum in San Francisco
broke the ice.”
Christina Hellmich, curator for Africa, Oceania and
the Americas at the de
Young, was organizing a
show based on her areas of
expertise. She knew the
Vatican Ethnological Mu-
‘ANGELS’
F R O M PA G E 4
“When he produced his
first big success, ‘Vortex,’
in 1924, he already had a
few other scripts in his
trunk,” Manke said. One of
them was “Fallen Angels”;
another was the spectacularly successful “Hay Fever.” “Several plays came
out in quick succession,
bam, bam, bam,” Manke
said. “He had three running
at the same time in the
West End in 1925, I believe.”
From the beginning,
Coward’s plays were intended to provoke as well
as amuse. “The Vortex”
concerned a nymphomaniac socialite and her cocaine-addicted son, who
was played by Coward in
the original production. In
“Fallen Angels,” two middle-class and seemingly respectable British housewives slowly get drunk
while awaiting the arrival
of their shared French lover as their oblivious husbands play golf.
“You can imagine how
shocking this was at the
time,” Manke said. “I read
that (the first production)
did have trouble with the
censors and he ended up
having to adjust the language.”
Manke was attracted to
“Fallen Angels” because
it’s slightly sillier in tone
than other Coward scripts
of the time.
“What’s so wonderful
about this play is that it has
the sophistication of his
brilliant wit throughout,
but at heart it’s a little bit
like ‘I Love Lucy.’ These
two girlfriends scheme and
get drunk and get into
some mild trouble, but
none of it is terribly dangerous.” Manke noted that
both women had dalliances
with the Frenchman before
they were married.
Manke was also drawn
to the play because it hasn’t
been produced nearly as
often as some of the play-
A.BRACCHETTI, COURTESY OF VATICAN MUSEUMS AND BOWERS MUSEUM
Handscroll with Great Wall, 1 7th Century (Ming Dynasty 1 368-1 644). It’s made of
China paper, silk and pigments, and it depicts the cities, rivers, mountains and
encampments located along the Great Wall of China.
jects from different religions – I think it’s a good
signal, it’s a good message
for the people.”
DEEPER MEANINGS
“Horseman With a Falcon,” from 1 8th-century Tehran,
Persia, depicts a hunting scene. It is made of ceramic
and pigments.
‘Gods & Gifts:
Vatican Ethnological
Collection’
Where: Bowers Museum,
2002 N. Main St., Santa
Ana
When: Through Feb. 9
Hours: 1 0 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tuesdays-Sundays
How much: $ 1 3-$ 1 5
adults, $ 1 0-$ 1 2 seniors
and students, free for
children younger than 1 2
Call: 7 1 4-567-3600
Online: bowers.org
seum has exception holdings in those areas. So she
asked to borrow some
works, and surprisingly, the
director, Father Nichola
Mapelli, said yes.
“My interest is really in
sharing these works with
the wider public,” Hellmich
said. “It was clear that people didn’t really know about
these collections, and so we
wanted to share something
very special and unique. It’s
quite meaningful, in the way
that Father Mapelli is trying to connect them with
places of origin.”
‘Fallen Angels’
Where: Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna
Canyon Road, Laguna
Beach
When: Previews begin
Tuesday. Regular performances Saturday
through Nov. 3. 7:30
p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays, 2 p.m.
Sundays. Additional
performances Thursday at 2 p.m., Oct. 1 3
and 20 at 7 p.m., Oct.
24 and 31 at 2 p.m.
How much: $36-$66
Tickets: 949-4972787
Online:
lagunaplayhouse.com
wright’s other 1920s and
’30s hits.
“I’ve never seen an audience laugh at a Coward play
the way they did in Pasadena.” (Manke’s production
got its start earlier this year
at the Pasadena Playhouse.) “Maybe it’s because
the play is so rarely done
and audiences don’t know
the jokes, so it feels fresh.”
FORCED OBSCURITY
The reason “Fallen Angels’ hasn’t been seen is because it was forced out of
circulation for many years.
“An English producer
had an iron grip on the
rights because he wanted
to do the show in New
York,” Manke said. “He had
(the rights) for a decade, so
it hasn’t been seen in
America for at least that
long.”
Manke and the Pasadena
Playhouse managed to secure the rights just before
the theater declared bankruptcy in 2010. “We had
started casting and scenic
design and were supposed
to go into rehearsals when
they shut down.” That delayed the production another three years.
The Laguna Playhouse
production is identical visually to its Pasadena predecessor but includes two
new actors, including a familiar face in Laguna, for-
THE OBJECTS
The works on view at the
Bowers range widely, from
a Buddhist thangka painting given to the pope by the
14th Dalai Lama Tenzin
Gyatso, to a hand tool from
South Africa that’s 2 million
years old. There’s a figure
of a divinity dating between
A.D. 1000 and 1550 that’s
from the Tairona culture of
northern Colombia, and a
ritual crown from 19th-century Korea made of horsehair, silk, paper and gold
powder.
The works represent religions and sacred practices
from around the world,
from the Marquesas Islands to Egypt to Vietnam.
Only a few convey Christian
beliefs or symbolism.
“People who were Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim –
they gave these up to the
pope, and the pope treasured them,” said Mapelli,
who’s been director since
2009 and holds a doctorate
in the history of religions.
“For us, the most important
message we want to convey
is the appreciation for art
mer playhouse artistic director Andrew Barnicle.
“This is a play I’ve wanted to do. I tried to get the
rights for many, many
years,” said Barnicle, who
directed a production of
Coward’s “Private Lives”
at the playhouse in 2011.
Barnicle plays one of the
unsuspecting husbands,
Willy. “He golfs a lot and ignores his wife. The underlying message is that these
two women have fallen out
of passionate love with
their
husbands
even
though they’re relatively
happy at home.”
The husbands are quite
unaware of their wives’ unhappiness or the possibility
that they’re going to wander, Barnicle said. “Even
when faced with that’s going on, Willy refuses to believe it’s possible.”
Barnicle takes issue with
the frequent criticism that
Coward’s characters are
too brilliantly well-spoken
to be realistic.
“I find these characters
to be very real. You just
have to accept the fact that
they’re clever people and
speak very well.”
What did it take to get
Barnicle back on the stage,
where he hasn’t been seen
locally as an actor since the
Laguna Playhouse production of “The Icebreaker” in
early 2007?
“An offer, that’s all.
That’s what it takes to get
me on the stage.”
Barnicle is still busy as a
director, and he’s still
drawn to Coward. He is
helming a production of the
playwright’s
“Present
Laughter” at Chapman
University, where he serves
as an adjunct professor.
“Directing is still a passion for me.” As for acting,
“I don’t mind it at all. It’s
kind of fun as long as I don’t
have to go to L.A. to hustle
work. I did the audition circuit for a long time when I
was in my 30s. I’m too old
for that now.”
C O N TA C T T H E W R I T E R :
7 1 4-796-7979 or
[email protected]
This 20th-century thangka from Tibet is made of
silk, cotton, semiprecious
stones, pearls and wood.
The Dalai Lama presented
it to Pope Paul VI in 1 973
at the Vatican.
and religions all over the
world.”
But don’t Christians and
Catholics believe that
there’s only one God, and
their faith is the only true
way?
Mapelli cited decisions
made during the Second
Vatican Council of the
1960s as the reason for collecting and showcasing
these items from different
religions.
“That opened up this idea
that there is common respect,” he said. “You have to
respect other religions; you
have to respect other cultures. Because it’s bad
when people kill each other
in the name of God. So the
Vatican showing these ob-
One of the more impressive pieces in this collection
is a Tibetan statue of Garuda, a deity with wings, the
head of a bull, the beak of a
crow, the upper body of a
human and bird legs. It’s
made of bronze gilded with
gold, accented with pigments and wood, and it
dates to the late 19th or
early 20th century. It’s one
of Keller’s favorites.
“It’s as fine, if not finer,
than anything that we
brought from Tibet when
we did ‘Treasures from the
Roof of the World,’ ” he said,
referring to the groundbreaking exhibit the Bowers featured from October
2003 to September 2004.
Another notable piece is
a detailed Persian tile depicting a horseman with a
falcon. It’s made of ceramic
and pigments, and it dates
to the 18th century. The tile
has become one of the signature images of this exhibit.
A 1650 Runic calendar
from the Sami people of
northern Europe is crafted
from reindeer antlers.
There’s a colorful, portable
temple of Vishnu, the Hindu
protector of the universe,
from 18th-century India.
Four artifacts from 18th- to
19th-century China reflect
that nation’s sometimesoverlooked Muslim population: The porcelain and
bronze containers feature
prayer inscriptions from
the Quran.
A very detailed and rare
scroll of the Great Wall of
China depicts cities, rivers,
mountains and encampments located along the
wall. The scroll, made of paper, silk and pigments,
comes from the 17th-century Ming Dynasty.
“I’ve never seen anything
like that before,” said Meher McArthur, an independent art historian who specializes in Asian art.
For Father Mapelli, one
of the most important objects on view is not an artifact made of gold or precious materials. It’s a Chilean mask from the late 19th
to early 20th century, crafted humbly from bark and
natural pigments.
Last year, Mapelli met
with the great-granddaughter of the mask’s creator in Chile. She made a
basket for the priest, and
the two items were displayed together at the Vatican Museums.
“We wanted to show the
connection,” he said. “This
is important for us too, to
reconnect with people and
to tell their story.”
C O N TA C T T H E W R I T E R :
7 1 4-796-6026 or
[email protected]

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