Fabricating the Façade

Cloutier-Plasse, Jessica, Department of Drama, University of Virginia
Linton, Marcy, Department of Drama, University of Virginia
Hoh, Lavahn, Department of Drama, University of Virginia

I have been working with masks as an actor and maker since 2002. My first experience with wearing a mask was for the play Camino Real by Tennessee Williams. To be quite honest I still don’t know what that play is truly about, but I had a very avant-garde mentor who loved to distant the audience in a Brechtian way. I found the ability to put on a mask so freeing, it allowed me as an actor to truly transform into another character, without ever having to reveal myself as you do with straight acting. The body language and large movement came very natural to me and was an easy request of the mask. When my time as actor came to an end, I often longed for the larger than life, complete embodiment of character that masks achieve. Therefore I started to make masks and learn how to encapsulate a character through the expressions of the face. Through learning all of the techniques outlined in this thesis and a couple more (not mentioned here). I have comprised a collection of techniques that I have learnt mostly by trial and error, which I believe to have many uses in the theatre. When researching step by step directions on the techniques listed in this thesis, I several reference and discovered that no one text appeared fully complete or easy to follow. I hope this thesis will serve other students studying at The University of Virginia, maybe even the ones I teach, as a quick resource to guide them on their way to creating masks.

MA (Master of Arts)
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