Masks History


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Masks History

  1. 1. GC1 Mask Research Mask Historical Context Research
  2. 2. Introduction  Masks have been used throughout many different cultures for thousands of years. They have been used in rituals, tribes, ceremonies and theatre. The reason they are used is for their literal and/or symbolic meanings. The words “mask” appeared in English in 1530’s it was developed from Middle French masque, meaning “covering to hide or guard the face”. The reasons they are used in theatre are to develop the audiences understanding of the piece and to develop the character as a whole.
  3. 3. When Were Masks First Used In Theater The first masks were used in 7000BC then were introduced into theatre in 800 – 146BC. They were first introduced in Ancient Greek theater with the purpose of allowing the audience to follow the narrative, this was done through masks to show a clear contrast between the different characters.
  4. 4. Greek Theatre  “Illustrations of theatrical masks from 5th century display helmet-like masks, covering the entire face and head, with holes for the eyes and a small aperture for the mouth, as well as an integrated wig.”   Skeuopoios was the name for the mask makers, which means “maker of the properties”, which connotes that their role was not only to design the mask but to develop the character.  Many of the concepts behind Greek theatre are still around in theatre today. This is again done to develop the character, however today masks are also used to add the magic element so some shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Shrek The Musical.
  5. 5. 18th Century  In the 18th Century masks, which were known as a theatre device, emerged into the western civilization from religious practices of ancient Greece.  Masks were also used in the 18th Century at the Carnival of Venice. There were several styles of masks worn at this Carnival. People with different occupations wore different masks to distinguish between the different people.
  6. 6. 20th Century  Masks are used in the 20th century for musical theatre and other theatre productions such as Shakespeare and Greek productions. They are used to bring different styles to the piece and develop the audiences understanding of the character.  Tribal Masks  Masks are used in tribes to show rank and to show which tribe that person is from. They are most evidently influenced by European and western societies. This is done by the way they are designed and decorated
  7. 7. 20th Century  Musical Theater  Masks are used throughout different musical theatre pieces one of the most famous being Phantom Of The Opera, where the Phantom is wearing a mask which covers half of his face. This is done to stylize the performances. Unlike the past where it was to communicate the character and there emotion. Some of the most present work that you can see is shown in more ‘magical’ performances like Beauty and the Beast where masks have been developed for not only the face but into more entire body to transform a person into a fictional character.
  8. 8. Conclusion  For century's people have used masks for theatre and they all set out with one goal to improve the the audiences understanding and interpretation of a character. Using masks also allows actors to multi-role as different characters providing a clear contrast between the two.