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Mask Work in Drama Essay

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Our mask work in drama was an experience that I very much enjoyed very much. It also made me a better drama student because I increased my body movement far more as my face could not be seen. It has also shown me that with a mask on you can go for it with your body movement but you should go for it just as much with out a mask on.


This part of the portfolio is where I say what Fragments of Mask work I learnt and enjoyed.

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Key word Fragments:

Fragments of movement we mainly made up our self’s but always had to keep them ritualistic and precise. The movement we were taught in certain lessons were from a ritual and had to be Ritualistic and precise so every move was important.

Examples of fragments I learnt in the lessons regarding Mask work: I remember the first lesson that we did mask work I was so unsure weather I would like it or not. What we did was sat in a circle Miss Grenene did movements that we had to copy in a ritualistic style. Then she made up copy the ritual routine with sounds so eventually we were all doing the same movements and sounds making us a chorus. Then she made us carry on the ritual adding sounds and movements on to it as we go. Miss was also playing the drum, which made it sound like an ancient ritual war drum. I felt unsure while doing this but however my emotions became more confident as the class ritual got better and better. The feelings I had were that I had to keep together with the group like a chorus should. Real life sounds and memories of sounds and movements were used in that ritual to carry on to making our own ritual. Like clapping whistling stomping all kinds of sounds and movements. All these ideas ran through my head and I was thinking this is good so why not add this, this and this to the piece. This was the starting point for our work as next we had to do a ritual in masks, which really does complete the ritual.

I had to team up with Ross, Jack, Lisa and Joe to perform a Ritual of travelling from a neutral calm place to a hot place, to a cold place and then a funny place. I discovered on this first performance with a mask that because my face was covered up I had to express my character with my body and even more so as I didn’t have speech. We all had to huddle together as well to look like a chorus. Sadly I felt nervous on that performance as everyone was moving at different times and I could not keep up so it went badly. For the movements I thought I should look freezing and act it and look hot and act it for the others I did the same basis for the ritual. I understand that a ritual is to be a serious occasion and you should act serious and focused while acting out a ritual like for example in a funeral or wedding. Which brings me onto my next piece which was when me Jack, Lauren, Keeli, and Michelle were acting out a wedding.

The manor of this performance had to be serious and precise which it was. We did slow clear-cut movements that flowed and were symbolic to a wedding. This was a good piece when we performed it however the white cloth got caught in Keelis hair and we all ended up laughing. When we performing it I saw weddings on t-v and in real life and saw how formal they were, so I decided to draw my performance from that. I played the vicar and with the mask on I felt that Ginny was gone and the Vicar of the wedding was there. I felt calm and good about this performance as it was done well but we all laughed which emphasized even more the need t be serious in a ritual. Not one of my fragments up until now has made me happy with Mask Work. Not because I don’t like because I always couldn’t do my role correctly in movement or voice. Now I was put in a group for my moch exam and I was brilliant and confident from the word go I had no problem expressing my self and loved it. I feel that if I did it once I can do it again maybe it was the pressure of the exam that made me do well, however I am far more confident with mask work after that.


My emotional response to mask work is to approach it in a willing way. I felt like I had failed whenever I didn’t give a good performance, which was most of the time, which hindered y confidence. I felt down like I did not know what I was doing wrong for a long time this made me frustrated with the work. This made me more determined though because I love drama so much I was not going to be perturbed by improvements that could and were in the end made. Also while we were trying new things I felt happy or sad or angry and this was related to the movements. I found that moving a lot made me happy and I could do that a lot if I was down. My Intellectual response to the work was to always be prepared and try everything and improve. I always wanted to intellectually give a good input to work and get a good out put from it. Ideas were always flowing into my head to put into a drama piece, but sadly I didn’t know when to stop. The movements that we explored were always ritualistic and expressive according to the character or ritual we were playing in. In our moch exam I was so pleased with the response I gave to the work, which were magical ideas, and ritualistic movements, which got a good response, back this made me pleased. I always felt ready to try but had varied emotions through out mostly of focus and confusion to the drama piece.


Fragments were connected and developed as we learned more and put our increasing mask work techniques together into a ritual piece. Like our sounds like drumming or humming were connected to movements.

For example a scream sound+ hands trying to pull your hair out could = an insane person in ritual.

Another example could be a person with clawed hands above their head + a long grunt could = a person in a ritual who is angry.

Mask + Movement = A soundless piece of drama where only the body can interpret the ritual using serious pr�cis and ritualistic movement. Also you must always have your head forward and facing the audience. Then you should have your shoulders back and have clear ritualistic movements and if there is sound use it so it’s clear and relevant also loud or quite depending on the mood.

Mask +Movement+ Sound= A Ritual with expressive movement and sounds were effective adding atmosphere depending on the ritual piece.

Mask+ Movement+ Sound+ Music= For example a piece of mask work like Oedipus which was the play we did and turned into a ritual. Fro sound we used words from the play like death, marriage, hanging, the grouching of the eyes. Then we linked these to ritualistic movements like people dieing and the grouching of the eyes. We used the music when there was a lot of tension at a high peak of the ritual. The chorus did movements all together this looked very effective and I liked the way they all moved at different level but still looked like a chorus in a ritual.


The moch exam we did was based on a play called Oedipus and which we had to extract 10 words and turn it into a ritual with movement and music. Our 10 words were:

Death, Marriage, Hanging, Grouching, Suffering, Hurl me, Madness, stabbing daggers, pain, and loved ones.

The chorus which was Niki, Chris, Kirsty, Joe and Michelle used slow movements and long drowning words which made the ritual sound like a world of despair. I was the narrator and I said about the Marriage, death and hanging and the gouging of the eyes in the beginning. This was very effective and then at the end I came on screaming madness. Then the madness the chorus came out and stabbed me to death then I said the madness is done like I was closing the ritual. I must say I loved the way every ones movements were so precise and ritualistic.

This so effective and the sounds we used symbolized the movements we did which made it look really good. I liked it because it flowed well and the sounds were loud and expressive. If I had to change something about the ritual it would be the fact that we could have moved more in time and also that the music could have been used more to show tension. Also the clothes were good too Red symbolising blood and black is the madness of killing. The other groups were so good as well I learnt that from them practise makes perfect. They were so realistic in voice and movement. Especially Sheryl and Daniel in voice. The choruses in all the groups could have moved better though. From this the thing I have learned that everyone must work on is their movements. The audiences were so good they gave us a lot of claps and support to spur us on.

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