Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Faces

In a previous post ("Makeup"), I talked about the makeup for Noh Garden, which is an adaptation of traditional Kabuki white face. Erin and Andy--respectively Mary Magdalene and Jesus--here are putting on their white makeup, using the altar at St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish as a station. The reason for the white makeup is the nature of these two characters: not realistic portraits of Mary and Jesus but rather interiors, if you like. These are mystical presences. Also, on stage and film, they are not "acting," in a traditional sense. They are icons of a sort. The white faces help to preserve that sense of distance between us, who are in the "real" world, and these beings, who inhabit a space between the realistic and the mystical, a transitional place also known as liminal. The ritual quality of the scenes is enhanced by the mask-like faces. In traditional Noh, of course, they would be wearing masks.

This was our first day of shooting, last Thursday, July 7. In the background, you can see the screen painted for the stage by Pam Racs. It's a version of the traditional pine tree backdrop used in Noh drama (see an earlier discussion of the pine tree from last month).

Our next shoot is this Thursday, July 14: two disciples visit the empty tomb where the dead body of Jesus had been placed. They race to see who will get inside first and know the truth. The truth is as elusive as the body of their friend and teacher.

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