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M A S K  &  M O V E M E N T  T R A I N I N G 

Mask & Movement Training is an extensive laboratory based on the universe of theatre masks and  the main currents of physical theater, such as Jacques Lecoq, Étienne Decroux and the Italian School. The course can be runned in individual modules or in a full one year program. 

The process begins with the neutral mask, enhancing the performer's presence and introducing the conventions of communicability of the mask. The larval mask allows students to experiment the territories of abstraction and mimo-dynamics such as the geometric form, the elements of nature and animal metamorphosis. The relationship between the morphology of the mask, the character and the human passions are worked out through the full expressive mask, which allows the creation of narratives based on the contrast of mask and countermask. Human comedy proposes a genuine and creative experience as students may create, design, and actually make their own masks. Also in this module students will confront their masks with an original dramaturgy constructed also on a textual level. Finally, the masks of the commedia dell’arte fully develop the abilities of the performer. Are approached all commedia archetypes and it's gestual models through schemes of individual and collective improvisations, interpretation of the mask morphology, creation of lazzi and understanding of canovaccio.

MODULE I – Movement Analysis and Neutral Mask 

  • Codifying movement routine: stretching, warming up and body anatomy

  • Spine joints

  • Segmentation of articulations: the contribution of Decroux grammar

  • Movement qualities: dynamics, rhythm and weight

  • Neutral Mask

MODULE II – The Gesture and Larval Masks

  • Forms and movement

  • Dynamics of the subject

  • Nature and movement

  • Animal and animal body

  • Variation of column axes

  • Fundamentals of communicability with the Larval Mask

  • Narrative and Larval Masks

  • Improvisations with Larval Masks

MODULE III – The Space, the "Jeu" and the Expressive Mask

  • The system of forces

  • Vectors of physical construction

  • Mask morphology

  • Passions and character

  • The feeling and its opposite: mask and countermask

  • Dilation of movement in space

  • Dramaturgy of silence

  • Improvisation with expressive masks

MODULE IV – Mask Making and the Human Comedy

  • Character analysis

  • Mask making project

  • Mold and counter mold

  • Sculpture

  • The Cartapesta and finishings

  • Theme vs. situation

  • Mask and text

  • The voice of mask

  • Creating scenes

MODULE V – Coding Gestual and Commedia dell’Arte 

  • Historical-anthropological bases of the formation of the archetypes: the mask’s worldview

  • Gestual models: Zanni, Arlecchino, Brighella, Pulcinella, Pantalone, Dottore, Capitano, Innamorati

  • The commedia system

  • Contrast scenes: relationships between archetypes

  • Chorus formation: the design of the masks in space 

  • Interdisciplinary foundations: fights, acrobatics and madrigals

  • Improvisation as a method

MODULE VI – Dramaturgy of the Mask 

  • The Lazzo and the specialization of the mask

  • The Canovaccio and authorial dramaturgy

  • Political issues of the satire of the commedia dell’arte and its updates

  • Scenario Creation

Languages Spoken: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian

L E A T H E R  M A S K  M A K I N G  A T E L I E R 

The starting point is the problematization of the mask element in the history of communities and their unfolding in human life. The aim is to understand how it has been established in theatrical production since its origins. After analyzing their phenomenology, participants will be prompted to design and create their own masks by drawing, sculpting, and studying a context in which the mask is inserted. From then on, sculpture techniques will be revisited, among which the modeling, the reproduction of mold and countermold, the papier mache, wood carving, the anatomy of the leather so that each participant can produce a theatre mask in cartapesta and another one in leather. In the sculpting process are approached fundamentals of the three-dimensional structure, the morphology of the mask, methods of reproduction in plaster and exploitation of many different materials.

Project Design

  • Introduction to the mask theme: historical-anthropological approach

  • Introduction to the main types of theatrical masks

  • Mask and space: idealization of the space in which it will be used

  • Mask and light: idealization of the incidence of light in the morphology of the mask

  • Mask and dramaturgy: creation and analysis of the dramaturgical conditions from which the character emerges

  • Mask and character: elaboration and analysis of the psychological and physical characteristics of the character

  • Notions of primary and secondary states. Notions of mask and countermask

Conducting Studies

  • Elaboration of sketches

  • Elaboration of studies with sculptural materials (clay and resins)

  • Elaboration of scene studies


  • Creation of measurable model: the positive face in plaster

  • The clay: experiments with material

  • Bases of the three-dimensional structure: notions of lines and planes, volume formation, measurements and morphology

  • Sculpture: modeling in clay

  • Reproduction methods: molds in plaster

Languages Spoken: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian

The Cartapesta

  • Introduction to the technique of the cartapesta: the papietage in negative

  • Bonding and pressing the layers of paper

  • Textured materials

  • Painting in dark light. The patina

Wood Carving

  • Measuring systems

  • Emersion of the model and point 0

  • Succession of plans

  • Lamination of wood

  • Introduction to the use of the ax

  • Introduction to the use of gouges in u, l and v

  • Introduction to chisel use

  • Sharpening techniques

  • Sanding systems

  • Perimeter cutting


  • Types of tanning

  • The choice of leather for each mask

  • Treatment of leather

  • Methods of dyeing

  • Introduction to stretching tools

  • Treating the leather

  • The inner part of the mask

  • Varnishes and lacquers

  • Paintings and patina

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