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Durham e-Theses
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Masks and metamorphosis

Furlonger, Rose (1998) Masks and metamorphosis. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this study is to consider the uses of the mask in ritual and theatre, and in particular the reputed influence of the mask over the wearer, and the experiences of 'trance' and 'possession' reported by anthropologists and mask practitioners and performers. The study also examines the role of the maker in creating a powerful tool for ritual and performance, and the comparatively rare phenomenon of the mask-maker who creates a mask which he or she will subsequently wear and the potential paradox of the maker 'possessed' by the object he has made. The first chapter focuses on the mask in its practical and ritualistic contexts in many cultures, and the second considers the concept of mask and transformation in ritual and theatre. The third describes a number of approaches to the use of mask in contemporary drama, in both the creation and performance of theatre. Chapter Four further investigates the effects of the mask on wearer and audience, and attempts to account for some of the experiences described by wearers. The fifth chapter examines the role of the mask maker in ritual and theatre, the relationship between mask and maker, and the maker as wearer. The sixth chapter centres on children as makers and wearers of masks, and focuses on primary school mask making and performance projects. The final chapter explores the relationship of the mask and the self, the assumed and the actual identities of the masquerader. Appendices I-XIV describe the experiences of mask makers and wearers in a variety of contexts, and provide additional evidence of the unusual sensations experienced by wearers. The thesis aims to investigate some of the causes of these phenomena and to consider strategies adopted by practitioners, directors and dramatherapists for utilising these heightened experiences to positive effect in performance.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1998
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:50

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