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The Power of Masks – A Masterclass

The Mask, a fundamental tool for Theatre and essential for actor training…acting with Masks structures and simplifies Play…It lifts movement and text above the naturalistic,  filtering the essential while ignoring the anecdotal… Acting becomes ample, simple and elemental… When playing a Mask the actor cannot use the body or the voice as we do in everyday life, physical attitudes are needed! …So, what is a physical attitude? To compose the body in such a way that the actor gives the illusion of another character, animal, object, action, state, emotion, passion…’

These are all words by Ana Vazquez de Castro, a great Spanish theatre practitioner that had, amongst many other great theatre masters, the same great teacher as myself, Jacques Lecoq.

I completely concur with her…and I admire her. I would have like to know her, unfortunately she passed away last year…

Acting technique can be taught and Masks are great for that; but there is something that cannot be taught which fascinates me…and that is ‘ Play’ (with capital P). Rare and delightful… It is undefinable because, it is an essence, a feeling, an energy that contains in it a great power, unique, simple and beautiful…and you cannot make an actor ‘repeat that’, it is as unique and alive as each breath because it only lives in the moment…



If you understand Spanish I recommend watching the video bellow. It is 1:30 min. For those who like me are passionate about physical theatre it is a must see. Just sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy this Masterclass – from Neutral Mask to Commedia Dell’Arte, a real treat to watch, such is Ana Vazquez’s talent…and not just technically but also in ‘Play’ (with capital P). It is not easy what she does because she is alone on stage (so who do you play with)? If you don’t understand Spanish you can jump to 1:16:29 and watch a delightful scene between Arlecchino and Arlecchineta (her own creation) in which she uses ‘Pantomime Blanche’, or you can watch a a sketch of Otello in which she plays 4 characters (full Masks, no text) from min  57:45


‘it is your creativity which ultimately will be the key to freedom’ – Ana Vazquez de Castro

Thank you Ana for sharing your great knowledge and insight.


The Actors Space offers International Theatre Workshops in a unique setting, right in the heart of Catalunya and near Barcelona. 
We also travel around the world to share these workshops near where you are! First two workshop of 2015 are:
Lisbon - The Art of Comedy - 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2015
Berlin - Screen Acting - 20th,21st and 22nd February 2015


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