At its root, an actor's study with neutral mask, (or universal mask) is the exploration of self and the actor within. Originally developed by Jacque Lecoq, mask was advanced as a tool for actors to find and express a deeper emotional honesty and an economy of movement. Mask is also effective in guiding the actor toward an inner core that is poised, centered and focused while they express formidable, true emotions on stage. Lecoq said, “There are three masks:the one we think we are, the one we really are, and the one we have in common.” My experience with mask work has involved finding not only my own center, but the center of the character I am developing for the stage. Mask work also creates an incredible group dynamic. It is extremely freeing to cover one’s face while allowing one’s body, movement and posture to tell a story while becoming part of the “whole” of a masked acting company. I eagerly welcome students to take this journey into neutral mask as I am confident you will find your work forever advanced from the experience About your Instructor: Mavis Jennings performed as a singer and actor on Cirque du Soleil's Big Top productions of "Quidam" and "Varekai" from 1998 to 2016. During this time, he sang and acted in over 5000 shows on every continent except Antarctica; a place he hopes to visit one day. While with Cirque, Mavis contributed his teaching skills through the company’s outreach program, "Cirque du Monde," where he taught beginning level acting and clown classes to under privileged children in several countries. It has been Mavis' greatest joy to teach and learn with students about all aspects of theatre, mask and movement techniques. Cirque du Soleil provided frequent Lecoq training workshops for its character actors, singers and acrobats during Mavis' years with the company. This training and years on a traveling stage have been a valuable resource for not only his future creativity, but also his teaching and directing at Kent State University. While Mavis currently resides with his family in Stow, Ohio he is frequently in touch with an enormous resource of friends and artistic-colleagues from around the globe with whom he continually endeavors to build a more worldly and diverse artistic vision.
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