In this Critical Reflection about our Mask Performance I will display not only the process of creation as a team, but also what I learnt from it and what my inspiration was, to come up with the ideas and to develop them. In addition, I will reflect the improvements that could had been done and the different approach of the task now it is completed. Firstly, I wanted to create an extraordinary piece that provoke a feeling in the audience, and as a team we agreed that our intention was to make the assembled spectators laugh.
Starting from the point of launching different ideas and using as main ingredient the improvisation, we developed different small representations to see which one works better. To find out that, we took in account the compenetration between each other and always the opinion of the outside eye (one of us observing the performance). The outside eye is a concept I learnt throughout the course and that we put in practice very often as it helped us in great amount to cut parts of the play that weren’t necessary, add an idea, develop certain moment of the piece or change the dynamic of it.
My main influence to create the performance was based on what I learned mostly in the practical lectures and supporting that with the material exposed in the theory lectures (readings, debates, videos, etc. ). I used the knowledge obtained from readings as Jacques Lecoq’s ?? The Moving Body (Le Corps Poetique) ?? , that helped me to think about my mask and the level of dramatic playing and expression while wearing the creation. In addition, I used my mask in multiple circumstances, supported by the other members of the group, to conclude in which one it worked better (Jacques 2000).
Another big influence was The Mask Handbook (Wilsher, 2006). Being already mentioned before, the concept of improvisation was a key point of our performance, we spent more time in creating the piece of theatre while performing than thinking about what play to do (Wilsher, 2006). A part of the readings, a major influence were the mask theatre companies like Kulunka, Vamos, Strangeface theatre and the MetaMorpho in smaller amount. The companies listed helped me develop my performance with the mask and moreover, understand it.
Finally, a great influence was the content expressed in the theory lecture about the mask performance and the feedback received by the tutors and other people that watched the piece of theatre. It was really appreciated as this helped us develop the piece and take in consideration more aspects. The performance was based on a robbery in a jewellery store equipped with a great security system, including alarms and lasers. The first scene is presented with the entrance of the owner of the jewellery store, a character full of confidence and apparently very careful with her job.
Two other characters, representing at this point visitors and at late point the thieves, enter the store observing it very carefully. They somehow get the keys, and the next scene is the robbery itself, including the criminals and their boss. The item desired is, however, very well protected and they turn up the alarm; what happens next is completely unexpected. My character was an organised and clever thief that wants to have the control but can not stand the pressure. When there is something dangerous he is scared and his mind goes blank.
When I first enter at the store I’m trying to get as much information as possible, but my partner is more interested in the ornaments and that is not helping. Taking control of the situation I order my partner to distract the owner. At this point with mutual cooperation we take the keys, nevertheless, my partner want to buy an item from the store we are going to rob and I have to force him out. On the day of the robbery, I’m nervous and observing carefully the plan created, however, is my boss who shows me how to do it.
I successfully go through the lasers and reach the box we want to rob, but I forgot the keys, and the alarm turns on. I run to get as much of the toys I left behind and finally leave the store, just before the owner arrives and find that my partner is dancing with all the jewellery. The owner starts dancing too, as they both leave synchronized. I based the use of my mask on the design and the definition I created across the performance of the mask. I considered my character taking in account all the previous aspects mentioned and, in addition, adapted him to the piece of mask theatre created.
The final creation of the group in my opinion was very interesting as an argument, the actions were unexpected and we reached our goal to make a funny piece of masked theatre. There were a couple of things I consider would have been better, if for example the time that characters appear was more equal, as I felt under a lot of pressure at the end of the piece, being on stage almost all the time. Another point based on that is I would have more time to change my clothes and put the accessories.
Besides that I consider there is some very strong moments in the piece, like the time when one of the thieves try to help his partner that is being electrocuted by the lasers and he get, obviously, electrocuted too. Another strongly creative moment is the end of the play and more unexpected moments like when the boss is trying to open the box waiting for the keys and the thief is giving him a teddy bear. From another point of view, I think the songs were very engaging and fitting perfectly in the piece of theatre developed.
To point out, it was a key moment when we received different feedbacks, as this helped us in a great amount. Particularly, highlighting the improvement of our counter-mask, something that we were not considering at first, and that ended up being very important in the play. On the other hand, we also developed the entrance of each character, from not having an individual entry, to making every character have an own moment. I consider the feedback received as a very significant and think that it helped the piece to be much better and more creative than before.
To great extent the piece of theatre we created represents my viewing of what and how the use of a mask works. Being part of a mask theatre play include the responsibility to leave ones persona, be completely neutral and start creating a new persona. Looking back to the piece, I created a mask with a meaning to me, a persona that I couldn’t identify before and now I do, someone with specific gestures and movements. Once completed the creation, a large process full of spending time with the mask, I put this persona in the piece of the play.
This same process includes the developing of the counter-mask and making both work together, if possible. Analysing the different components (mask volume, clarity, focus, inner monologue), I think our play included almost all of them, and maybe the component that was in less amount was the bravery. In addition, I consider that our play is at a good level, nevertheless there is more effort needed to reach a professional mask work. Developing the masks increasing their volume plus adding more risk (bravery), and being more organised on stage, could help to reach a more professional level as a piece of theatre.
Moreover, on my own I consider that I need more experience with the mask and also, watching more mask theatre would help me to improve. Finally, the main conclusion I deduct is that to create a piece of mask theatre one should be aware of the potential of his mask, the weaknesses and the strengths. Another key ingredients are the bravery, leaving the comfortable zone, not being afraid of making something different or that looks hard and trying a lot of ideas while using the component of the improvisation. If I could do the task again I would definitely put more effort into all the components mentioned.