Text topic: Mask and Masking
Text author: Маја Ристић
The main objective of this paper is to research and analyse the role and significance of the theatre mask. It will include a theoretical study of the mask and its use in some of the most important periods in history when the mask and the masking represented an essential theatrical convention/form, props, part of the costume used by an actor to build a role, by a performer to express himself/herself in front of the audience. It will research into how and why masks were used in the prehistoric theatre, Antique theatre – when the mask gained an important role of reinforcing the idea of tragedy i.e. comedy, giving actors monumental and godly images. In the period of Renaissance, the symbolism of the mask changed, especially in folk stage productions of the Comedia dell’arte. The second part of the paper will analyse the productions and specific uses of the mask in the Avant-garde theatre – the theatre in which the mask is both formally and essentially the core of its performance. In particular, the role of the mask in the dramas Pere Ubu by Alfred Jarry and the use of the mask in the performances of the avant-garde theatrical company Hleb i lutke (Bread and Puppets). The key research question of this paper is whether the mask is just part of the period costume or whether its appearance on an actor’s face carries much deeper significance representing one of the authentic and autonomous elements of the theatrical production.