On Wednesday 3rd December, a world renowned mask maker and theatre director came to BISB and gave the Year 10 Drama pupils a workshop they would never forget, as well as a life changing experience. Spanning a three hour investigation into the most subtle of the theatre arts, Matteo Destro taught the Drama group, who had recently been studying physical theatre and mask. Beginning after their first lesson, Destro took them back to basics, to the simplest tasks of isolating body parts, maintaining neutrality, and posture. He stressed the importance of gaze, and how the movement of the gaze must be transmitted through the mask. “It’s really much harder than you think it would be”, says Linda Pedersen Year 10. And it certainly was, judging by their red faces and excited smiles. Over the next hour and a half, Destro provided instruction and critique as the students worked on energy levels, how the character is influenced by their energy level and what this connotes to the audience. “You are not moving like Carolina, because you are not Carolina, you are the character, and the character is not Carolina, so do not move like Carolina-you are not you”, Destro declared when the students proved how difficult the task of designing movement through the undulation was. The students also had a go at devising own short performances, incorporating their recently acquired knowledge, into magical scenes. Destro also studied stance, the importance of including the audience in every aspect of the character, relationships between characters. All the students agree that without this fantastic opportunity they would not be able, would be skillfully inept to create their own piece of mask, part of their GCSE coursework. “Without this workshop, we wouldn’t be actors, we’d be amoeba - it changed our lives completely”.
By Nadine Pheby