Masks for performing arts

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  • 1. GC1 Mask Research Mask Historical Context Research

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 1530s 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 7. 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.