The Prague Summer Theatre School

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Performing with Masks

Master the basics of performing with masks.

This introductory course offers the unique experience of mask improvisation as a tool in actor training. You will explore mask in its fullness - from the inside leading out.

Acting in mask represents the basic premise of acting - the comprehensive inhabitation of an "other." The mask has also been recognized as an invaluable and indispensable tool in actor's training. Jacques Lecoq pioneered the use of neutral and larval masks to encourage and promote what he saw as the essential skills of actor's craft - playfulness, togetherness, and openness. The mask has thus become an organic part of actor training, a tool used to develop performers who are willing to cultivate their imaginations, minds, bodies and emotions to become better equipped at embodying the psychological needs of characters they portray. It has become an essential tool for the performer as it allows the freedom to dare to be someone else, and at the same time to be more yourself.

By performing with masks in this course, you will learn the fundamental rules that govern mask performance and gain first-hand experience of what makes a mask such a simple yet powerful tool rich in emotion, narrative, metaphor, and symbolism. The actor in masked performance departs form a blank screen on which the audience may project emotions suggested to them.

This deep understanding of what constitutes a mask will be developed in improvisational exercises with various types of masks. Students will work with neutral, larval, and character masks. Each mask will form the basis for a new area of exploration, as each type of mask will evoke different responses, teach new concepts and techniques, and challenge you in new ways. At the end of this course, we will present what we have learned in an open class.

Schedule

June 13th to 15th, 2014. You may also take any Three-Week Course,

Teacher

Pavel Bednář, MFA, is a Prague based mask-maker, drama teacher and instructor. He received his MFA from the Department of Drama in Education at DAMU. He trained in England with Mike Chase, a leading mask maker, actor, and director in the field, where he gained experience in making and using masks for performance and personal development. He also trained and performed in Commedia dell'arte with Oily Crick. He is now exploring the use of masks in corporate drama, pioneering the use of drama conventions in the field of corporate training and executive coaching.

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Photos: From mask workshops taught by Pavel Bednář.