Posted 4 years ago
A Commedia dell'Arte Mask. I'm still researching this leather mask that I have had for a couple of years. I bought it at a second-hand market. I love it! I did Italian at Sydney Uni under Frederick May in the early 1970's (1970 - 1974) and developed an interest in the Zanni!
Masks are powerful items! This one finds another set of characters within me when I put it on. The voice changes; my bass baritone finds new energies. I was not sure if this was an Arlecchino (there's a bit of a bump on the head) or Brighella. Russell has confirmed that it is the "Capitano".
It has a signature on the inside right cheek: R. Cheek / 1983. It has only recently that I've been able to track down the maker: Russell Cheek an Australian "Writer-Director-Performer". He is a Newcastle lad, but after Sydney University (my Alma Mater) he went to Europe and studied at the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris (where Geoffrey Rush also trained). From there he became a founding member of Parapluie International Theatre Company (Paris) and The Theater Am Turm, Frankfurt, Germany.
"As a Masked Theatre and Mask-training specialist, I focused initially on the Neutral, (or "Universal") Mask, helping people to kinetically understand and impose their status as an "integrated being" in the universe, and whichever space they occupy. Much later, with the Half-Mask, (ie the compendium of Commedia dell'Arte Masks,) I introduced them to the surreal, hilarious and irresistible universe of Commedia. I also continue to do this in the corporate environment."