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  • Greek Theatre The Development of Mask

    Oedipus Rex logo

      The mask is the earliest man-made visual realization of our dual existence: of day and night, waking and sleeping, life and death. The immobile and unchanging aspect of the mask is the face that lives without living. The application of the mask was twofold. In the early years of homo sapiens, when a warrior killed his adversary, his dried and then stuffed skin was turned into an artistic trophy. Primitive man often wore the mask of his slain enemy with the intent of absorbing his spirit. At the other extreme were the priests of early religious cults. They would don masks before stepping in front of a god's altar. The mask may have been used to create more readily the mysterious tie between the priest and the divine spirit, but mainly it helped the priest shed his humanity and create a "spiritual" identity.

     The stage masks of Greek and Roman antiquity were of several kinds-comic, tragic and satiric-and were called "personae." In Greek tragedy, particularly, the mask gave an indication of age, station and the prevalent mood. We know of 30 masks made for tragedy, including old men, young men, divinities and servants. The crudest and oldest masks were made of tree bark; others were made of leather lined with cloth. Some were constructed of light wood to ensure the preservation of the model. The mask was proportioned to the size of the amphitheatre so that it could be seen clearly from the most distant seats. The vocal volume was increased by strips of brass fastened inside the mask near the mouth, or else the lips of the mask were widened and exaggerated to form a crude megaphone. Seen at close range, all the masks looked frightening, but if they had not been so crudely fashioned, they would have seemed without features from a distance.

    The Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
    Give him a mask and he'll tell the truth.

    - Oscar Wilde

    OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles
    April 110, 2005

      Special lecture
      "Open house" lecture about Sophocles, Oedipus, Greek mythology and more.
      Featuring the Stage Director of Oedipus Rex Anatoly Anohin, Set Designer Timaree McCormick, Lillian Corti "Blindness, Sight, and Psycoanalysis in Oedipus" of the UAF English Department and Dr. Joseph Thompson "Oedipus Rex and the Oracle at Delphi" of the UAF Philosophy & Humanities Department.
      Monday, March 28, 5:30pm in the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre

      Free Admission & will be available online via streaming audio and video! Check back here for details.

      OEDIPUS REX in the Lee H. Salsibury Theatre
    • Friday, April 1 @ 8:15pm
    • Saturday, April 2 @ 8:15pm
    • Sunday, April 3 @ 2:00pm followed by a Q&A with the director and cast!
    • Friday, April 8 @ 8:15pm
    • Saturday, April 9 @ 8:15pm
    • Sunday, April 10 @ 2:00pm


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