The workshop is an introduction to Keith Johnstone's Trance Masks and Full Masks. Wearing a mask is a powerful way to unlock creativity and to discover how to be expressive, releasing the pressure on us to “create” as we let the mask lead us, and giving us a new experience of our own possibilities as performers.
During the workshop, participants will move constantly between exercises without masks, with full masks and with trance masks. In this way of working, the creative flow of the group is maximized.
The full mask completely covers the face, and therefore does not allow the actor to speak. This limitation results in an amplification of the nonverbal communication of the performer’s body. During the workshop students will discover how, by minimizing their gestures, they are able to communicate the emotions of the character more clearly, even those emotions that seem to contrast with the fixed expression of the mask.
The Trance Mask (half mask) technique was developed by Keith Johnstone at the Royal Court Theatre in London and later perfected at Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary, Canada.
This technique used observation of shamanic ceremonies in Africa as a starting point. This use of the mask in a magic context was then combined with modern theater’s most well-known mask techniques.
The Trance Mask covers only the top part of the face leaving the mouth free, since sound is one of the central tools used to activate the mask.
There are no fixed characters. Whatever emerges from the encounter between an actor and a mask, if powerful and pure enough, is the start point from which a character can be developed. This process may bring to mind the development of a little child as he discovers how to speak and relate with the world and different experiences.