masks, puppetry, clown, Etc.

What mask work, puppetry and clown work have in common is that they work in other level of acting. To be able to perform with masks, puppets or clown you have to find a stylised way of acting. It feels strange to see an actor performing with a mask in a naturalistic way. It demands working with much more clear movements, stylised voice, etc. What do you think?

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Thinking in terms of when masks were worn in entertainment in vast amphitheatres, the performances would have to have been in a broad style of acting to be seen. Whereas clowns have a broad style in their performance, puppets do not necessarily need to be broad as in styles of Punch and Judy, or Avenue Q perhaps. I have seen many subtle and beautiful performances with all styles of puppetry - gloves, rods, marionettes, shadow, Wayang, etc..
I am not sure about the voice being stylised. Whenever I was presenting a glove show, I would use upto ten or more different voices for the characters in a play
I would not necessarily say a "stylized" way of acting. What I would say is that the movements and actions of the performer need to fit the architecture of his mask or puppet. And sometimes (many times) that requires the actor to perform in a way that is not pedestrian (ie, if he were to act that way walking down the street, or at a McDonald's, he would be arrested.)

But, especially with masks and puppets, it's little subtle movements that make the character come alive (the way the puppet breathes, or slightly looks at something. (One of my teachers used to call this "The dust on the book." When you see a cartoon book falling down, it's not the big movement of falling that seems so real. It's that little moment afterward, when you add the dust coming up after the fall, that makes it real and special.

I think that mask/puppetry/clowning often require more technical work than what I would call "Cigarette-smoking" acting. As the performer, you've got to have a much stronger technique in these disciplines to support the choices that you make.
I don't know if "stylized" is the right word but what I mean is that you cannot play realistic in mask, clown or puppetry. I use "stylized" as contrary to realistic. In some sense I think the acting resemble more to cartoons: the way of moving, the voice, the rythm, etc. Even when the movements are subtle. (I like the "dust on the book" concept).


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