N E U T R A L M A S K S
The neutral mask is the starting point, "the mask of all masks". It was created by Amleto Sartori and Jacques Lecoqs, with the aim of establishing a pedagogy for the performer. Its features do not draw any particular expression and therefore has no individuality or conflicts. The "calm mask", as it is also called, allows the search for a state of "presence" and to meet physicality leading the body to a state of silence. The masks you see below are reinterpretations done by Fernando Martins. All of them are made out of leather.
L A R V A L M A S K S
The larval masks were created by Jacques Lecoq based on the Basel carnival mask tradition and introduced into his pedagogy. With their large dimensions, white color and abstract lines, they allow a behavior that explores the animalistic body. The mask can be used on the head, but also on another part of the body, radically altering the performer's axis and exploring other regions of expression and communicability. As its name suggests, the "jeu" is based on an embryonic level of character formation. This character, not yet formed, roams the world in a naive state of curiosity. They can be created with materials such as paper, resins or fiberglass.
E X P R E S S I V E M A S K S
Expressive masks, in addition to synthesizing traits of fundamental expressions, also describe a wide range of human feelings. In these masks lines, shapes and dramatic nuances are much more sophisticated. They bring important concepts to mask theatre such as countermask, that is, the willingness for the "jeu" to be established based on a feeling and its opposite. Thanks to the range of passions, emotions and states in which it can move, it is a mask in which the word is implicit in physical action, being a powerful communication tool, however silent. Its complex architecture requires the mask to be designed through sketches and dramaturgical analysis before being carved in wood and pulled into the leather.
C O M M E D I A D E L L' A R T E
About 500 years ago, a phenomenon of popular culture emerged in Italian territory that even today influences the different forms of theatrical expressions and, especially, the actor's work: the Commedia dell'Arte. A mask theatre based on its performers and their specialization in representing certain social types, this dramatic territory is the root of the modern acting professionalization process. This fascinating craft started to be exercised in companies that traveled around different corners of fifteenth century Renaissance Italy and that would later spread throughout Europe and would conquer the western world as a whole. Here you can see masks of all archetypes of commedia created by Fernando Martins: Zanni, Arlecchino, Brighella, Pulcinella, Pantalone, Dottore and Capitano.