Commedia Unmasked End-of-Year Offer
Hi, Tony Kishawi here. I’m out and about on a Sunday afternoon. And I just wanted to make this announcement that we’ve actually got a new set of Commedia masks.
Now, you know, I’ve always had the set of seven Commedia masks as a teaching resource. Well, we’ve decided to create another set, which is what I call the professional set. It’s a leather look. So they’re still rubber latex masks, but we’re giving it the aesthetic that they are you know, traditional looking, leather masks. And this helps a performance immensely because well, the original leather masks, they actually reflect the lights and have an interesting effect when you’re performing.
So we’ve made these leather look to actually try and represent that same effect. When the lights bounced off the contours of the mask, it’s interesting because the viewer, kind of, the audience sees the masks working. And they go “Gee, I think I saw that mask smile or whatever expression. And really the effect is, that it is an optical illusion, of course.
The mask doesn’t change shape. But when you put the body and the body language together with the mask, then the viewer fills in the gap. You could say or fills in the expression on the mask. So, let me take you inside. I’m going to show you the website and show you these new masks. We’re very very proud of them.
Hi, Tony Kishawi here. So I’d like to take you to have a look at the new leather look set of Commedia masks. So here is the original leather Steve Novac masks. Now, Steve Novac lives here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. And he went and studied with Jacques Lecoq, many many years ago. And when he came back from the school, he decided that he wanted a Commedia troupe, and so he made some masks and formed the troupe. They were called the Bon Zannis. And they were fresh out of QUT, Queensland University of Technology.
So these masks have now been in my company. I bought these off Steve, and they’re like six, seven hundred dollars each. I don’t know what price there would be these days. That was like fifteen years ago. Anyway, this is the rubber latex mask that Steve made, because he knew not everyone can afford that kind of, you know, set of masks.
And so we made the rubber latex masks as copies of his masks. So they’re very spirited characters, and you could see the shine on this mask is the same as the leather. So it has great effect under theater lights because when the mask turns and looks around, you know, it actually helps the actor bring this mask to life. So you can always test a good mask by, you know, manipulating it like this and just having a look around the room. And, like… like it’s a puppet….
And so you can see that the actor has the same job when they are wearing it. They’re operating it a bit like a puppet because they’re making it come to life. Now the eyes, I should mention that the eyes and the eye holes of the mask are very very important because if you can’t see the eyes, the mask dies… basically…
So, if you can catch the whites of the eye, so a little trick… there is to have front-of-house lights that are our eye level, to the actors on stage shine them directly into the face. Because you know, you just got downlights. You’re just gonna create a shadow across the eye and of course the mask will die. So it’s always a good tip.
Now, about my masks, I mean like, we’ve actually been using and making these for a while and you know, the weak spot was this here… Students used to pull the elastic and it would put a lot of stress on the rivet that’s holding the elastic on. So what we’ve done is put some reinforcement in here. And then where you can see that, we’ll get a close up here… There’s some reinforcement gauze that goes embedded into the latex as it’s being poured. And of course, this helps it hold if anyone’s tugging on it. But to also stop people from stretching the elastic and sometimes people tie a knot in it, you know, to make it bit tighter. So we’ve put this adjustable strap because you know, in the drama room, a lot of different people are wearing them, and until they settle down to one mask that they might be performing. So adjustable strap, very very… very very handy…
Okay, so that’s the masks. Now, we’ve created a new set called the “Leather Look” and we’ve dubbed it the “Professional Set’. That’s right. So let me take you to the website now and we’ll have a look…
So my website CommediaUnmasked.com Yes, you can go there and have a look all the things that we have and you can see here… or let’s go back to the front page here… You see, I do a few blogs if you’re interested. You can sign up and watch my weekly blogs. There’s one interesting one with Olly Crick. Now, he’s an Englishman doing a Ph.D. over there in England and he’s nearly finished. And we’ll be calling him doctor very soon. But, Olly has some very interesting and is very knowledgeable about the ways of Commedia and history. So it’s a very interesting interview. We were discussing Dario Fo’s performance the fly routine. So hopefully that’ll be of interest.
So if you go down here you can see there are the professional masks that are for sale. So if you go to the shop on my website. It’ll take you to this page, which I’ve already got open. And you can see all the teaching resources that I hear, well, that I recommend at least… for teaching Commedia… And if you click on the product, which is the leather look… well, you can get… zoom in on the masks if you scroll over but these thumbnails here will show you the masks if you want to have a closer look…
Let’s go to the next page, which is the thumbnails. You can see that the masks are great quality and, even if I do say so myself…
There’s the sales page. They’re all the characters. There’s seven in total We’ve got all their names, and here is the packing box that we send out to you, if you purchase these masks.
Now you’ll notice that there’s this bit of sort of material in there… a bit of a red velvety thing, I really like to present the masks to my students with a little bit of reverence. In other words, if you present them with as though they are special, they will be… hopefully, treated with respect.
There’s a bit of mystery that comes with masks work. Do you know what I mean? Like that, a lot of people think “Oh, What’s the mask gonna make me do?” It’s good to capitalize on this if you’re a teacher because it’s great to have that energy build-up. What it… what’s going to happen in the mystery of the mask. Play on it! Use it! So always display the masks in some kind of material like black velvet, red velvet in this case. Something that you can use to your advantage.
Now inside the box, I just should mention, at the bottom there, there is a raised section which is, which I kind of call a saddle. So that they don’t lose their shape. It’s always good to keep the masks in a packing box like this because you know direct sunlight will deteriorate the mask quicker.
These can last for up to 10 years… 15 years… I’ve actually heard in some cases. But always look after them. Follow the care instructions that come with them. And keep them in a packing box when you’re not using them.
Okay, next page. I’d like to talk to you and show you my teaching Commedia book. Now, it’s been out for quite a while, but I think it is a very useful resource if I do say so myself… yet again. If you click on these thumbnails you’ll be able to see the content. So there’s a front page. That’s the back cover and in the book there,
you can see there are lots of instructions on the moves, and the Zanni walks and so on.
And the table of contents I’d love to bring to your attention because I tried to make it as easy to find what you’re looking for as possible. So not only did I put down the chapters of the book, but I actually put the contents of the chapters in the book. So that you can flick through the book and find the exercises that you might be wanting to do in the very next class.
So, here we got, you know, they’ve got the walks of traditional walks and talks and so on and there’s high-status. And even here you can see just in this last page. I’ve got more Lazzi. Meaning I’m offering some ideas for you to use in the classroom like the mirror exercise… And the mirror Lazzi I should say… The Hat Lazzi, the Squeaking Step Lazzi and go on and on… So they’re great to offer the students to be able to give them a starting point.
Okay, the last page, I’d like to bring you to that your attention to the sales offer which is the “Leather Set”, which is the Professional Set and my book as a combination. So you can get it for $750 and the Leather Set is normally $700. Okay, so we’ve come to the end.
Let’s bring us back to the camera. There we are…
So hopefully you’ve had a look around. Go to my website and have a look around yourself. What I’d like to do is, offer… I’d like to give away Antonio Fava’s book on Commedia. Now, I’ve got three copies left. And I think they retail on Amazon for about $42. And it’s a great resource. Antonio Fava was my mentor. I went over and study with him. And the reason why I recommend this book is because he talks about Commedia as more of a, it’s not a history book, you know, it’s not… every other book talks about history he says… but this was more about actor training, improvisation and the poetics of survival, which is the subtitle there.
So if you’re interested in this, I’ve got three copies, I’ll give them away to the first three people that take up my End-of-Year offer for the Professional Set.
Okay. Thank you very much for staying this long. Have a look down the bottom on this page. You’ll see some testimonials from teachers that have used my book. And also some testimonials from some teachers that were at the New South Wales Drama Conference, and John Saunders said some very nice things about me… So, I’m very proud to show off these testimonials. Thank you very much and see you in 2019. Bye!