I love Mask Work

Every step of mask work excites me and inspires me.  When I sit down to begin a mask I fall into the trap.  I think of what I will make it be.  Such a human response to want to plan what it is going to be.  It is so much more exciting to begin and find out what appears.

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculpture to find it.”

- Michelangelo

I love that during the whole process I am reminded of my censors.  Those voices that tell me it is wrong, more of this, less of that, you are screwing it up, you are crap at this.... all the normal human judgement flooding forth as I set out wanting to create a masterpiece!  Whatever that means. 

“If you hear a voice within you say, “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

- Vincent van Gogh

I love hearing the censor trying to plan it so it will be good and in response I remind myself to just be.

I love battling the ‘it looks horrible’ by reminding myself to allow the process and not focus on the end result.

I love finding myself in that place of being afraid to try this colour in case it is wrong and I remind myself it is ok to fail.

“If your not failing every now and again, its a sign your not doing anything very innovative.”

 -Woody Allen

I love seeing the mask reveal itself. 

I love seeing the face appear.

I love the tension and excitement in a room of people trying the masks on.

I love the huge leap into the unknown as you wait for the mirror and then live that moment.

I love when they come to life.

In that moment, when it comes, I am amazed that it is never what I originally thought it would be, could be or might be.

Masks that look lame suddenly spark amazing characters and those that look alive on the table don’t arrive. 

I love every step of the process because it is a constant reminder to be present.  If we trust and allow our creative selves to just do and stop worrying about failure we can be delighted in the magical surprise of what comes to life.  If we can just stop trying to control the future and  just get our own crazy judgements and fear out of the way.

I love it because it is the heart and nature of impro.  It reminds me each step of the way of the humanity within what we do.

I love it because it grounds me, keeps me honest and I get to play in a whole other way.

I love it because it reminds me that what we face, confront, think, feel and worry about as improvisers is the same as other creative artists of all other disciplines.

We are human, we are creating, we are all the same and vastly different - I love that!

If you’ve never done mask work then I would suggest reading the chapter on masks in Keith Johnstone’s book Impro or if you are in the Melbourne area you could check out the workshopI’m teaching. 


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