Simultaneously Angry and Happy: Mask Making

So I happened to come across a man next to a table with scary clay face positioned beside him.  So I approached and two minutes later I was not doing what I was intending to do in the building but making a face from clay to translate into a paper-mache mask.

First we did what I would call a visual brainstorm.  I closed my eyes and felt my way around the clay and made random shapes and marks that I could not see.  When I opened my eyes I picked out elements which looked like facial features and defined them.

My mask was aiming to be like a caricature so exaggerations were essential.  The direction I was given was firstly that masks have pushes and pulls and secondly they have at least two emotions at one time.  The giant smiling mouth was a contrast to the eyebrows which I simply slanted to portray anger.

I went away with the challenge to think of a name and place in the world for my mask.  My first thoughts were ‘Mr Pea Brain’ because of his proportions and peas are good for you but make me angry because I don’t actually like them.

I feel there is a sense of freedom about costume, almost as if we are liberated by hiding our usual self and giving ourselves the opportunity to be someone we have not been before.  This character can intercept our world and put us in another.  We are at a time in history when we are not limited by our class consciousness and can dress how we feel.  In the case of theatre I believe we can dress in contrast to what feel or express something we are not usually comfortable expressing.

Maybe this mix of emotions on my mask is a fun way to dramatise a confusion going on. Anyone can express themselves through costume.   Being a walking piece of art is a real expression of fabricated self.

The next step is to paper-mache it which is very exciting!


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