Putting On and Removing the Mask: Layers of Performance Pretence
Donning and removing the performer’s mask in full view of spectators creates an instant transformation between performer and spectator. Layers of pretence are created or changed which inform or obscure spectator and/or personage understanding. These moments turn and develop the action of the play in performance. Revelations of the personage are created by both donning the mask and removing it. In mumming practices, removal of the mask takes place in order to reveal the 'participant'. In plays, the moment of transformation reveals changed characteristics or identity of the personage. Not only do these kinds of turning points change performer/audience relationships, but they also affect and condition the structure of the performed event whether this be a play or sequence of mumming. Such pivotal moments are the subject of this article.
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