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Abstract

This study seeks to reimagine and reinvigorate modern theatre’s relationship with mask work through text-based historical research and practice-based artistic research. It focuses on three ancient mask traditions: pre- and early Hellenistic Greek theatre, Japanese Noh theatre, and Nigerian Egungun masquerades. Research on these mask traditions and recent masked productions informed the development and staging of a masked performance of Charles Mee’s Life is a Dream. The production featured sections for each of the ancient masking styles and a final section that explored masks in a contemporary theatrical style. As a whole, this creative project pulls masks out of their historical context to discuss their relevance for contemporary theatre artists and to demonstrate how ancient traditions can inspire new work.

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