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Masks

Masks are the most ancient icons representing theatrical performance -- and because they embody one of the most fundamental aspects of acting, the depersonalization and transformation of the self, are still a standard symbol for theatre. Recorded on Classical Greek vases, masks formed the basis of dramatic genres -- Tragedy and Comedy -- and developed as archetypal expressions of universal human qualities. Used in ancient religious or Shamanistic ceremonies, and covering the faces of the dead, masks retain a magical aura, and thus carry a psychological dimension. Common to many cultures and historical periods, masks have been given highly codified traditional forms. Yet they were also used to identify modern movements towards new, experimental theatres, with Gordon Craig titling his highly influential journal "The Mask", and contemporary playwrights and directors, from Eugene O'Neill to Murray Schafer have explored their potential. Other cultures use make-up for facial masking, which extends masks into everyday life.

As well as representative images of historical mask types -- Ancient Greek, Japanese Noh, Commedia del' Arte -- we are collecting examples of contemporary mask usage, and showcasing the Lampert collection of Masks at York.



Lampert Collection The Lampert Collection

All these Masks, constructed by Paul Lampert of York University, are designed for actor training, although they have also been the source for the development of one new play script, specifically derived from the character improvised around...

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Traditional Masks Traditional Masks

Almost all early societies developed forms of Mask for religious ritual, which then carried over into performance (it must be remembered that even the Greek theatre had religious roots in the Orphic Rituals...

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Continuing Traditions Continuing Traditions

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European Traditions European Traditions

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Contemporary Masks Contemporary Masks

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Masking and Makeup - Theatre Tradition Masking and Makeup - Theatre Traditions

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Masking and Makeup - Contemporary Society Masking and Makeup - Contemporary Society

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