Saturday, May 7, 2011

Design Recap: Blunt

Blunt's mask was a whole lot of fun to approach. About a third of the way into the semester the mask team had a meeting to hash out any questions we had and settle on design ideas for the masks that were still up in the air. This came down to the British Cavaliers and some of the Spanish ladies' masks. I threw out the idea of Blunt being a Jester, got the ok and ran with it.
Given the way rehearsals had been shaping up it was very clear that Blunt's character was going to be pushed very far on the buffoon scale, so of course having him in a jester mask made a whole lot of sense. Not only could the jester easily communicate a large aspect of the character, but also fits very nicely into Venetian Carnival tradition. I did quite a bit of research into images of Venetian Jester masks:

There are quite a few individual elements I took from each mask in designing Blunt. The biggest thing I kept in mind was that, while Blunt does have an attempted rape written into the script it was not going to be played in a threatening manner. So while many of the images I looked up were vaguely sinister, I didn't want Blunt's mask to be mainly sinister. For this reason I decided to break another seeming convention of the jester mask, symmetry of the facial features. In every image I looked at the jester's face was symmetrical, and that seemed to limit a lot of the range or variety of expression in the mask. Specifically, I took the general size of the jester cap I wanted from the second and fourth images. The first image provided a model for the raised eyebrow I wanted to use (not too sinister of course). The fourth image provided some nice examples of fun, plump cheeks. And finally, the third image provided the best way I saw to delineate the cap from the face of the jester, as well as very fun lip detail that I was hoping to incorporate.

So as you will hopefully see in my series of sculpting pictures I played with asymmetrical facial features in order to give a wider range of possible expressions to the mask. (The process is in reverse order so you get a better idea of how it ended, don't want to keep you waiting!)

Of course, no mask is complete just sculpted. So You get one more picture, the final mask, paint job and costume worn by our actor who played Blunt (Kevin Place '11) :

Rather successful if I do say so myself.

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