Mask Workshop with Steve Jarand
Updated: Jan 8, 2022
I have been dying to tell everyone about the experience I had last month in Calgary Canada with my friends form Texas, The Circus Freaks Clown Theater at a mask workshop hosted by Loose Moose Theater Company and Steve Jarand.
We spent a week producing paper mache masks and working on performance in half and full masks using the guidelines from Keith Johnstones Impro book and Steve's experience with trance masks technique.
It was really a great place for me to dust off the mask skills with learned with Leticia Bartlett in Clown Conservatory and get to see things we didn't have time to get into during Clown Conservatory in practice. All the physical work we spent time building experience with payed off in my ability to communicate emotion in a full mask using my body to express. These things have also taught me to pay more attention to the body language of people around me in general. Honestly it makes me feel like I am being nosey and invading someones privacy just by looking at them and knowing they are 'burdened by the world' or 'quietly satisfied and content.'
I spent a large percentage of my time wearing a half mask that we nick named the demon mask. This demon taught me a few life lessons while we were together including:
1) I Am Entitled to Taking Up Space
I participated in a scene with two other masked actors where we were on a love seat together. After the scene began and the masks had been "woken up" I really felt like I deserved the whole love seat. I've been trying to carry that feeling with me since the workshop.
2) Screaming Feels Good
Part of the practice of trance mask technique involves making the sound that comes with and/or, matches the facial expression your mask is making. The demon masks really screamed a lot in earnest. I don't think I have screamed as much as I did in this workshop, ever in my life, even as an angst ridden teenager.
The thing about it that really amazes me is that the act of screaming, the vibration in my chest, actually feels awesome. I had never noticed how it physically feels to speak, sing, breath, or scream before.
3) Screaming Together Feels Good
In another scene from the workshop myself and a friend from the Circus Freaks dawned two demon masks together and just screamed at each other. While this was going on I felt an extreme sense of belonging and cooperation with another being.
4) Where did these scrapes come from?
At the end of the workshop we got to choose a few masks to take with us on an adventure to the park. I chose to wear the demon mask in the park several times in which I apparently climbed three trees and used pine cones like grenades and screeched at birds. It was really awesome to get to use the strength I have been developing through aerial and acrobatics training to be truly animal without judgement of myself.
Overall I think the time I spent with the demon has taught me to live as a more empowered and confident person.
One final joy I experienced while Calgary was, getting to play with my friends from Texas without physically being at an event one of us is hosting, or me wrought with the emotional baggage of being in my home town. It was so lovely to meet and play in a fresh place.
While in Calgary we celebrated my lovely partner, Russell's birthday at Charcut steakhouse and went to see the Loose Moose Theater Maestro show.
ALSO I am usually at Looks - Costuming on Haight 735 Haight St. on Thursdays if you need any help with costume projects in the future or in this upcoming Halloween season.