The Personas

Feature Image From:

1. Masks

The History of Masks

It is said that Masks have been present in the history of humanity since the beginning.

With a mask on their faces, the actors have to articulate while acting, and possibly, might have to use other senses if a visual information is not feasible. Because the masks cover the actors’ facial expressions, the masks mitigate actors’ burden in terms of displaying certain emotions through the actor’s own face- or the masks might be a challenge to actors who tend not to use body languages when acting. Therefore, the exercise with the masks sets the stepping stone for being physically aware in relation to emotional awareness.

The History of Basel Masks

Basel masks refer to the masks used as theatrical tools invented by Jacque Lecoq, a renowned theatrical figure who extended his athleticism into the world of theatre. His work seeked for creating a synergy through combining gymnastics and acting, and he regarded the rhythms of athletics as “physical poetry”. He founded an acting school called ” L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq” in Paris and started teaching acting. Painted a traditional white, Basel masks are one of his educational tools designed to train actors and evoke different emotions and traits.

The masks were inspired by the Swiss carnival tradition:

Types of Masks

  1. Fatty:  goofy/ must move in a lazy manner/ sticks out its stomach / When Fatty falls to the ground, it cannot get back up
  2. Charles: stubborn &proud &views itself as above everyone else/  superiority /  doesn’t really care about others
  3. Military: frightening/ militaristic, commanding, strict, stubborn &tough/  gives out orders to other character or his pet (Lizard) / must move with a straight back, head high, shoulders parallel with the rest of body./arms crossed with a very structured walk
  4. Idiot :   messes up everything/ always confused and does the wrong things/
    1. One way is to portray it through body language
      1. stomach out
      2. lazy walk
      3. back hunched over with shoulders
    2. Another way is to portray it as a character,
      1. medium to quick movements, like duck waddling quickly,
      2.  pauses to show the confusion.
  5. Sloth: extremely slow in its movements/ very lazy and expressionless/ sluggish- must move slowly, lazily /uninterested in things happening around it / drags its feet with shoulders slouched.
  6. Lizard: a strange, animal like character/very curious about things – examines everything around it (can also act like a dog). / usually paired with Charlie or Military as  a pet /moves in a fast yet steady motion small quick steps

Before I started the performance, I observed the mask and made an assumption on what kind of emotions this person might had by mimicking its face. The mask had a frowning face and its eyes were angled forward. It crossed my mind that a Korean folk mask play also had the similar mask that represented absolute ownership and authority. The second mask is a representation of aristocrats in Joseon Dynasty.
The second mask is a representation of aristocrats in Joseon Dynasty.

The Military mask bestowed the authority to behave as if I am in the upper class. So the mask catalyzed dominant, authoritative and arrogant feelings that my ego has and I began to behave as if I was superior to others. I haven’t done any staunch characters before, so I enjoyed taking a new role today. For me, a mask was the invisible shield that relieved and secured me so I could dare doing anything, because it gave anonymity.

TOK-ish thoughts here: It occurred me that actors who act in a certain role are very likely to experience a change in their personalities. If a person continues to wear the mask that gives him/her confidence and arrogance, the person might switch into a person that’s really evil to his/her bones. Likewise, If a person wears the Idiot mask and behaves & speaks as an idiot, the person will be likely to change into a real idiot. Furthermore, from a psychological standpoint, masks has also taught me that anonymity gives an influence on people’s behavior.


Breathing in and out matters all the time. Breathing is also needed in puppetry. Taking a Breath is original movement for any puppets on stage.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s