Mask and Character Development

A mask is tangible. It represents a distinct and specific Otherness. Looked at in isolation it seems fixed, lifeless, concrete. But the mask has been created as a vehicle of transmission, the channel for a unique life force. The mask is a catalyst for transformation, allowing a different energy and inner life to be inspired within our actor body. The mask is the actor’s gift to an audience, our sacrifice of smaller selves in service to our larger function. Anything we place over the surface of our body is a Mask. Anything that reveals, shapes and expresses the life within us is Mask. Anything that conceals, filters or translates inner life is Mask. The experience of Mask Transformation, of Self into Other, gives us an empathic understanding of a human being’s inner life and is an essential aspect of actor process. Expanding our definition and understanding of Mask, we gain insight into identity, personality, and essential self, and we are reminded that an actor’s life is about remaking and informing the self we carry with us on our journey through life.

In this mask workshop, actors will explore face masks, beginning and intermediate character masks, paper masks, and commedia dell’arte masks. Information on the anthropological, psychological, and theatrical application of mask work to actor process will be part of the discussion.

Rich Rand( Mask and Character Development: )

Rich Rand began his professional career as a street performer on Fisherman’s Wharf and went on to tour Europe, performing for tens of thousands, with his troupe of lovable clowns. He subsequently performed on and off Broadway, and in theatres throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. He has acted, directed, or choreographed 150+ productions and served as a resident artist at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Conservatory, University of Missouri-Kansas City, FSU/Asolo Conservatory, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center, Brandeis University, The College of William and Mary, Centre College, University of Rochester, Berea College, Franklin College, Southern Illinois University, Wagner College, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.