Monday, April 21, 2014

Too Little Respect and Too Much Respect

(from Improvisation in Drama, A. Frost & R. Yarrow, PALGRAVE McMillian, pag 165-166)

Too little respect, and the masks will remain lifeless cardboard props; but too much respect - treating the masks as if they were truly the repositories of ancient demons - can stifle creativity altogether. Masks begin work ambushing their wearers. If the atmosphere is good, the work respectful, open, honest and good humored to begin with, the masks will animate the actor (the wearer I would say) rather than the reverse. But it is essential that the work be undertaken with care, so as not stifle the emergence of that new self. [...] What is important here is the emphasis on working with the mask, developing a relationship with it from which the new self can emerge, as a seamless - but never entirely comfortable - "fit" between mask and actor's body (wearer's body)

Ground Rules for Masks Improvisation (Eldredge 1996:42)

1.- Have respect for the Mask.
2.- Work on yourself and for yourself until told to do otherwise. 
3.- Work in silence.
4.- Avoid touching the Mask while wearing it.
5.- Keep the separation clear between your Self and your Mask. (a participant should not speak in her own voice in the mask. The mask does not talk in her voice: it has its own voice). 
6.- When you are told to stop and come out of the mask, you will do so. 

Ultimately, the "trance" or power to change is not in the Mask: it derives from the conjunction of Mask, actor (wearer) and audience. The wearer responds to stimuli both from the mask and the teachers and/or audience: what is involved is a dynamic process of co-creation. 

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