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It's uncanny but I was just finishing reading a really neat book I had
bought awhile ago but hadn't gotten around to reading until lately called
THE PROP BUILDER'S MASK-MAKING HANDBOOK..ISBN# 1-55870-166-4...by Thurston
James. He has also written THE THEATER PROPS HANDBOOK and others. The first
one deals with diff. methods of mask-making with diff. materials like
plaster, leather, etc. One of the masks is called a "neutral mask" and it
is refered to as the expressionless mask. It contain all the main features
of the face but no expression. Mime classes can be designed around the use
of the neutral mask wherein the wearer must assume the "expression" but his
movements alone to express the character like old, scared, happy, etc. When
the wearer does so, the mask almost magically transforms into that
expression. The Japanaese No masks runs along this theme successfully. "The
performer may depict sorrow by bowing her head and project joy as the head
is lifted. The mask seems to change its expression as the performer's pose
You could do this project with plaster gauze mask-making techniques on the
students' faces. Keep them simple with no expression then do the mime
techniques of body positions and poses.
Just a thought.....check out the book if you're interested. Cya............
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526