Changing Faces Drama Essay

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During this unit – “Changing Faces” – I have developed considerably as a drama student through new and interesting experiences which drastically improved my knowledge and understanding of the many aspects of masks. Having my facial expressions hidden during performances has forced me to develop and rely on my other dramatic techniques such as body language, gestures, posture and movement to portray my thoughts, feelings and character profile. I have even learnt how to substitute speech for body percussion or non-English words. As part of our course we had to constantly practice and present the three main rules of the mask: 1) Face the audience at ALL times – we called this “eating the shoulder” as it helped us to imagine our actions more physically and therefore hold our focus better throughout our whole piece. 2) Do not touch the mask. 3) Do not talk. These rules are vital because they prevent you from “breaking the illusion”. When you are in a mask you must use your whole body, actions and proxemics to represent your character; without this you won’t be believable or convincing for the audience. It creates a more impressive performance. If you turn your face away from the audience in a mask then it reveals the join line. This makes it appear that the mask and its expression and feelings are false and moreover, improbable. I found it quite awkward at first to ensure that I was always turning my face towards the audience regardless of what the rest of my body was doing. For instance, when I volunteered to try and demonstrate to the class simply walking across the stage in a mask I thought it was relatively tricky to walk with my body forward and my head twisted. However, after much more practice with my peer’s support and feedback I managed to hugely improve my technique and hold the illusion throughout performances. I believe that I learnt equally as much

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