The most useful tool ofTheatre is the neutral mask. As a tool for learning, the neutral mask is designed to make a raw display of the students' ability to move. The work is confronting. The neutral mask exists in a non-psychological world that portrays exploration, discovery and experience.
- Neutral mask made by TheatrElan and played by Theatre student, photo by Gino Sanidad-
The Pantomime Blanche belongs to the non-verbal world. This early form of silent theatre was popular in France in the Nineteenth century. The most famous character of the time was Pierrot, who had a white face. This unusual mask could be seen from a distance. Traditionally, Pierrot is in love with the cosmic universe, and he exists in a world where the galaxy is something he can offer as a genuine gift to his love, Colombine. Together they created history with their rapport.
- Johanna Fluhrer plays 'Pierrette,' costume by TheatrElan, photo courtesy of Alliance Francaise -
Unlike the neutral mask, this full face mask is an expressive mask. The 'Larval' mask is so named because their type of curiosity exists in a world that isn't human. They automatically connect to a particular kind of morphology, or body shape. They also assosiate to unique physical skills. Larval masks were originally developed by Jaques Lecoq and inspired by the masks of the Swiss Carnival Tradition, Basel. They are used in theatre schools throughout Europe as a tool for the actor to learn and mimic the dynamics of nature.
- Larval masks made by TheatrElan and played by Svetlana Morini and Joshua White, photography by Korcan Meydan -
Commedia Dell 'Arte
Each mask of the Commedia Dell 'Arte represents an archetype, or character, fixed in history. Whether on stage or in a community, each of these characters has a role to play. Commedia comes to life when the characters and scenario are pushed to the absolute limits of survival.
At the centre of it all is Arlechino. Among others, joining him is Dottore the local physician, Capitano who represents the dynamic of war, Madame Brigante or Pantelone, the land owners and propietor of all things. There is always too much fortified wine and debauchery in the Commedia, so these characters cannot be left alone. Typically, the characters need someone to represent a point of view of common sense, and that part was often taken by the female ingenues of the company, such as the servant girl Francesca.
- Il Capitano mask made by Newman, played by Samford Valley Steiner School student, photo by Jazzy Conners -
The Red Nose
There are three types of Closh: the First Auguste, the Second Auguste, and the White. To distinguish them from clowns in the circurs, we prefer to call them 'Closh,' because August and White clowns have nothing to do with blowing up balloons and kids parties.
To identify Closh, we use the smallest mask of all: the red nose. The red nose was called 'la boule,' or 'la tomat,' but in Australia, we call it the red nose. This little mask distingushes closh from ourselves, and all other beings! The world of Closh niggles at our desire to experience a timeless giggle.
- Eliza Stubbs and Johanna Fluhrer play Closh in 'The Low Rope, photo by Korcan Meydan -
The Human Skin
The human face is a mask we are all familiar with. In the theatre, the actor uses their own face to define the personality of a character. This 'character' is particular only to the actor from which it stems. In this way, discovery of a persona is a process that is easier as you get older, because you are more familiar with your own personality, simply because you have lived with yourself for a longer period of time.
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