Open Forum

Mask work

  • 1.  Mask work

    Posted 26 days ago
    I figure since we're required to wear masks in class anyway, we should jump on the chance to do units on historic eras and regions of theatre that use them.

    We just finished with Greek (Antigone). We did a table-read and discussion, and a modern-adaptation component that let them modernize the script and perform in custom-crafted masks.

    Upcoming, I plan to work with Commedia dell'Arte, Kabuki, and Noh.

    Not quite performing-in-masks, but I'm also looking at puppetry, voiceover, and reader's theater as ways to get the students performing while masked, without changing the integrity of the work.

    What other areas or opportunities have I not thought of yet?

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    Josh Kauffman
    Teacher, Thespian Society/Drama Club sponsor
    Winfield City Schools
    Winfield, AL
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  • 2.  RE: Mask work

    Posted 26 days ago
    Good Morning!
    Great ideas, thank you for sharing. I do not have my theatre class this semester but I cover similar topics with my students. We constructed masks last year based on a character from Everyman, the play we were reading at the time. It was a cool experience for the guys as we worked on modernizing it as well. I had them consider a current song that would be their characters entrance song and the guys came up with some creative responses to that.

    Good luck with the puppetry and everything else.
    Have a great day.

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    James Fry
    Director of Student Life and the Malvern Theatre Society
    Malvern, PA
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  • 3.  RE: Mask work

    Posted 26 days ago
    Great ideas! I needed inspiration for my elementary theatre class!

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    Rebecca Magnus
    Edgecliff Village TX
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  • 4.  RE: Mask work

    Posted 26 days ago
    You can buy thicker paper masks on amazon that are easy to color on, or even wet and inprint on them. they come with strings and precut holes.
    Here is the LINK for the masks that I used.

    I have also taken some and did a paper mache to them to create warts, stronger features, and other facial expressions. I am trying to find a picture of the one I made to resemble the puppet from SAW.

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    James Fry
    Director of Student Life and the Malvern Theatre Society
    Malvern, PA
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  • 5.  RE: Mask work

    Posted 25 days ago
    I had the exact same thought, James, so we're in the middle of our mask unit. We did some neutral mask work and are now on archetypal mask characters. I bought those thick paper masks from Amazon as well, but mine didn't have nose/mouth holes. Oops. My students had to cut them so they could breathe through two layers of masks. There are some good mask exercises on Drama Teacher Academy, and I used the books Movement for Actors, and Breathing, Movement, Exploration. We're doing Greek style next and then commedia. Their final mini-project will be to choose one of these performance styles and create a small group (socially distanced, of course) performance of a fairy tale in that style.

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    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Fishersville VA
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