Larval Masks originate from the winter carnival of Basel, Switzerland, and were first used in actor training by Jacques Lecoq. Larval masks are an excellent training tool for actors to explore how emotional states, character types and narrative can be communicated through the actor’s body, movement and physicality in the empty space.
The masks are large, abstract and clear in shape – this encourages the actor to articulate and amplify the movement, leave the ‘naturalistic’ timing and enter the enhanced theatrical dimension needed to bring the masks to life whilst stimulating the actor’s imagination, playfulness, complicity and a sense of wonder. As the facial expression is covered, a more significant emphasis falls on the body and on what’s communicated non-verbally, in silence. This requires the actor to be more playful, imaginative and receptive. Through the use of the masks, the actor enters a poetic dimension of movement, timing and space and becomes ready to perform a range of emotional states, dramas and conflicts through the body.