There are more than 300 courses offered through CSW's unique Mod System. Dive into one of them here or explore a previous 'Course of the Mod' by using the archive on the left-hand side of the page.
Of Mask and Mime is a five-week course taught by Barbara Whitney, Chair of the Theatre Department. As one of 80+ courses that fulfills the Social Justice graduation requirement, Of Mask and Mime examines the history of corporeal mime, global rituals of mask work, and how the concept of self is shaped in experiences outside of our own. Students study performers like The Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and Lucille Ball, while exploring foundational principles and histories of creating without words. Students also learn different methods of mime, clowning, and Commedia Dell’Arte mask work, while digging into histories of performative masks from all continents.
From there, students design and create their own pieces, ranging from thumb-sized masks to full face masks. Using their masks in individual, partner, and group work, students delve into the nuances of performance without language. Students focus on how to communicate their character through physical gestures, masks, and costumes, and develop a final project that they present to their classmates at the end of the mod. In this culminating project, students focus on an issue within social justice, and connect how mask work can reflect on that issue.