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MASK LABORATORY: DRAMATURGY AND TECHNIQUE


Theory / Practical course on the design, construction, and use of masks

Number of participants: 10 – 15

Duration of course: 30 hours spaced over five days


The laboratory is geared for academic students, actors, directors, scenographers, and costumers who want to discover a method of constructing and working with masks. Starting from the technical aspects that permit the making of a mask, the theme of the theatre mask as a work of art is discussed, together with the “dramaturgy”.



Program


History

Brief history of the mask: prehistory, classic masks, ritual masks, commedia dell’arte, oriental theatre, masks of the world, modern masks. Evolutions of the dramaturgical elements of the mask in various cultures throughout the course of history. 


          Technology

Demonstration of the technical construction of masks in various cultures. Technical uses in the construction of masks and their peculiarities, masks in terracotta, wood, paper-maiche, leather, metal, and their demonstration with examples by the artist. Demonstrations on the realization of masks in leather: materials used, elements for their construction in the form of wood, the process for forming the leather, finishing and painting. 


        Dramaturgy

Creation of the mask as it functions in dramaturgy: every participant chooses a character, defines its characteristics and outlines the sketch of the mask itself. Uses the mask in accordance with the dramaturgy.


            Design

Realization of a mask in clay of the makss already outlined. (It is possible to transform the clay design into a paper-maiche mask within 5 hours, divided into two days, throughout the duration of the course).


       Construction

The students participate in the construction of a leather mask using a pre-existing mould (it’s possible to achieve a form in wood, for the construction of some of the masks designed by the students, adding 15 hours throughout the duration of the course).


Note: In this phase, it is preferred that the students divide into groups of 3 or 4 people to distribute the work better in the limited time of the course. The construction phase of the form is suitable for the students who are familiar with the workings of the wood. If the facilities that host the course permit it, each student will be able to finish their own mask.


            Usage

The students may validate their work by trying on the masks and working on a brief dramaturgy of their chosen character. 


Structure of the Laboratory


The course is structured over a week’s time and aims at defining and developing the students’ handcrafting abilities. As it provides a work demonstration of the necessary preparation work, this course is an introduction to the making of the leather mask. 


The course is divided into two daily sessions of three hours each: in the morning, the practical and technical aspects, in the afternoon, the theoretical arguments and the dramaturgical sections with a demonstration of the work of the actors. 


The participants may be different for the two sessions, according to their interests. 







Technical Necessities:

Slide projector

Video or television monitor of at least 28” with videocassette


Materials for each participant:

Clay: 5 kg

Chalk: 5 kg (paper-maiche)

Equipment for modelling, paintbrush for gluing, bowl for paper-maiche

Sandpaper, newspaper, vinyl glue, wall filler, watercolors

Wood sculpture equipment

Work bench

Block of basewood (linden tree, larch-wood, or similar) at least 25 by 18 by 8 cm

Leather 1.6mm, naturally tanned

Horn-hammer*


* the leather, the horn-hammer, and eventually other material can be supplied to the organizers of the course by the course-master at a low price