From The Rectory – June

The logo of the actors union Equity features a pair of masks, one smiling and one frowning. This traditional symbol has long been associated with drama and represents the ancient Greek Muses of Thalia and Melpomene, the muses of comedy and tragedy.

Masks were first used to enable actors, who were originally all men, to play a variety of male and female characters and differentiate between them with a mask for each. Not a disguise as such, but a way of hiding the actor’s own features, and presenting an alternative face to the world.

More recently, comedienne & ventriloquist Nina Conti has put face masks on volunteers from her audience that cover the lower half of their faces. Conti uses a hand piece to manipulate the mask and make it appear as if the volunteer is talking. The voice that the audience hears is Conti’s. Although the mouth its movement and the words that come from it are disguised, the eyes of the volunteer remain on view. and display emotions that range from detached amusement to abject horror.

Masks enable people to do and say things that they wouldn’t normally say or do. There is something anonymous about them. Genuine emotions and feelings can remain hidden.

The putting on of a metaphorical mask in everyday encounters is something that many people do without ever really realising. Whether the mask they wear is the role that they inhabit as teacher or parent, or situational at a funeral or with difficult family members, masks cover what we don’t want to be seen.

Despite our own habit of putting on a mask, we want to know the truth behind those that others wear. Whether it’s our politicians or our religious leaders, we want to know what they really think, what actually makes them tick, their genuine opinions not their carefully crafted media soundbites. We value authenticity highly.

God knows what we are like behind the mask.  There is no need to put on a front hide how we feel or disguise our emotions. He loves us just the same.

No comments yet

Comments are closed