Sometimes, through history and today, masks could be the essence of drama and theatre. They help actors to cover their own faces and identity, and becoming someone even something for a small part of their lives, making a new worlds. Masks help the actors in searching of new lines of their creativity and imagination. Masks are used by actors for founding a different ways of communication with others on the scene and with the public too. They give them some kind of special magic power.
Masks make them believe in the illusion, and to forget that it is illusion… and the play became real, and to accept new face and new role of actors as real.
Face decoration is old human way creativity and self presentation but and collective story too. The history of masks predates the history of art, the history of drama music and dance, and they a part of story before language development began. The masks historically, primary are made for use in ceremony and they became are symbols which represents different, ages and places and cultures.
In Western civilization masks first emerged from the religious practices in theatrical performances in ancient Greece. In the days of celebrating of Dionysus, god of fecundity and the harvest, we can discover the birth to the art of drama. Masks have been used almost universally to represent characters, and became piece of art made of leather or painted canvas and present various ages, ranks, and occupations.
They help artists to idealize their subjects or objects of interests and make them known, famous and immortal.
There is a theatrical phenomenon in the period of renaissance which is popular till the 18th century, known as commedia dell’arte, improvisations from scenarios usually based upon the dramas comic playwrights Plautus and Terence. The players of the commedia dell’arte were usually masked, they had leather mask, black or colored, that covered all or half face, grotesque and fanciful masks. In this period masks were really important part of the story.
That period was the golden era of masks…
In 21 century masks are usually are used as gifts, or for decorations of the home. They became a rarity in theatre because today we are using modern and technological tools for achieving the same goal as the masks in the past.