Devising and working with masks

At the moment in my classes we are working on devising skills and have been working with Laban technique, Butoh, Suzuki and researching some devising theatre companies. I am sure that in your classes you are also working on devising in preparation for the Collaborative project and the Practical Performance Proposal.

This blog will focus on some resources you may find of help in your own devising in terms of mask work and shadows.

One company that uses masks extensively in Trestle Theatre Company, and they devise issues based theatre using masks. Below is some terminology you may want to look up when doing your own work on masks:

  • Major and minor focus
  • Passing the focus
  • Upstaging and stealing the focus
  • Clocking the audience
  • Clocking and object
  • Puppet body

This video explains some of Trestle’s approaches and has clear examples of how masks can be used in performance:

This video is an example of how natural mask can be used with music in group work

And this video is has examples in it of passing the focus and clocking the audience

I hope that you find these techniques useful and will encourage you to find other devising companies that use masks.

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