Why Masks?

Masks offer a unique sort of transformation. They are full of paradox: masks reveal and magnify more than they conceal. The simplest puppet can evoke complex emotional reactions. Despite their obvious real presence as objects, mask and puppets can so engage the audience that we forget they are there. We are just watching the play unfold as they transport us to the limits of our imagination.

Both the visual and performing arts have fascinated me since childhood.  I knew I should follow my artistic calling, but I could not tell which it was. It seemed I would have to choose one or the other, and I steeled myself for this tough choice to come. But I don’t think I wanted to pick just one. I kept finding myself signing up for both design and performance classes throughout my undergraduate career.  It then became clear that I would  choose  a life in which both were present.

My introduction to masks began in undergraduate study at the University of Kansas with Ron and Ludvika Popenhagen. They introduced me to a new world of theatre and creation, one that could encompass a multitude of powerful styles and genres.  After graduation, I volunteered with a puppet company in Minneapolis, and was soon after working with In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.

A few years later, I continued forward into further mask training with Bruce Marrs and Joan Schirle at the Dell’Arte International School. I moved to New York, I joined forces with Under the Table Theatre to bring original mask comedies to city parks in the boroughs, and also puppeteered in a number of shows in downtown Manhattan.

Currently I am based in Portland, Oregon, where I design, build, and teach.

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mask, puppetry, performance

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