Thursday, 8 July 2010

The bacchae; Part Three

Final installment of masks. I'm missing two of them Cadmos - which was pretty plain anyway, and Dead Pentheus. Which was the same as the Pentheus mask, just covered in blood. So, in no particular order, we have:

Tieresias. The blind prophet, hence the third eye and the black band across the eyes (it would have been just a plain black band but that made him look like a burglar, so I added the swirls which makes him look slightly creepy, but that suits me just fine).

Pentheus: son of Cadmos, current king of Thebes.

The Messenger: How to paint this mask? I gave him the staff of Mercury (which is not the medical symbol - the staff of Asclepius, that has one snake and no wings thankyouverymuch) and a quote around the edge which should be familiar to Ancient Historians and some American postal workers, since it's Herodotus (8.98).
The Herdsman was another hard one, but in the end I went for some healthy green leaves to show (s)he's not really one of the city dwellers but isn't plagued by Dionysos in the same way Agave is with her unhealthy black clinging vine leaves.

And finally, the most important mask: Dionysos, son of Zeus. Really I would have liked to have made two masks for Dionysos, one with, and one without the horns but in the end time constraints meant I could only make one, and I went for the one with the horns. If we'd have had both, Dionysos would have changed masks at the point where Pentheus noticed the horns, putting the audience in the same situation as him, and hopefully therefore making them sympathise a bit more with him. So when I knew I'd only got time to make one of them, I went for the horned one so the audience didn't feel totally isolated from Pentheus when he suddenly noticed invisible horns.

And that's it for this play. But the masks were a huge success so there will be another. Not sure what it will be yet. I'd prefer another tragedy, I think. Unless we did something like Aristophanes' Birds, tragedy gives me more room to play with the masks artistically.

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