Mask-making is a breathtaking adventure into a new universe. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say "an old universe," as I was trained by Italian mask-maker Matteo Destro, whose was trained by the legendary Donato Sartori and Jacques Lecoq. Their work, in turn, was a modern re-creation of Commedia dell'Arte, the form of Italian mask theater that took Europe by storm in the 16th century.
Mask-making is taught privately or in groups. Each student creates her own mask from scratch, moving through the different phases and learning the intricacies of each material: clay, plaster, paper maché, spackling paste, and paint.
In addition to the physical creation of masks, each day includes training in movement, mask theater technique and improvisation. The workshop culminates with each student "playing" her own mask in theatrical improvisations, as well as seeing it played by other students. For larger groups, I also co-teach mask making with my partner Peter Adeney.