Hiding Behind the Mask: Jesters, Jokers, and Clowns

Online, Global

14/03/2024 - 24/03/2024

Dunedin Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Created and Performed by | Rosemary George

Presented by Rosemary George (New York, USA)

The mask has preoccupied theatrical traditions since ancient times. From commedia dell’arte to slapstick and vaudeville, Professor Rosemary George probes hidden identities in human behaviour through the masks of fantasy and reality.

Language: Talk in English
Available on-demand
Spoken Word (Talk, Historical, Masterclass, Literary, Educational) (recommended for ages 14+)
Website: www.rosemarygeorge.com
Trailer: vimeo.com/728609638
Dunedin Fringe: www.dunedinfringe.nz/events/hiding-behind-the-mask-jesters-jokers-and-clowns

Following its launch during the pandemic at the Edinburgh Fringe 2021, which saw the season and its shows pick up eight awards, including the Infallibles Awards for Best Venue and Best Show, the C ARTS digital programme now runs year-round, and brings selected work from the full programme to fringes and festivals around the world.
The year-round season features work created by artists from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Ireland, Korea, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.
The C ARTS digital programme includes live-streamed and on-demand performance, film and video, visual arts, talks and discussions, workshops and events, from around the world, available year-round. The programme includes on-demand shows and live and interactive events, talks and workshop. Shows in the programme vary from month to month, as new work joins, or some pieces return to live performance.
C ARTS aims to bring the best independent theatre, dance, music, live performance, film, visual and interdisciplinary arts to audiences and followers of culture worldwide, and to enable creative companies and artists to connect across the globe for sustainable and meaningful exchange of ideas and artistic collaboration.
C ARTS also programmes and operates performance and visual arts spaces at C venues at the Edinburgh Fringe each August. More than a venue or an online platform, C ARTS offers creatives and artists, companies and shows support and advice with their creative work, with outreach and professional development, with press, and marketing, and arts industry liaison, and access to an online international creative community.
The C ARTS programme is available year-round at www.CtheArts.com.

Digital presentation , Spoken word , Theatre , Solo ,


From Iago to Arthur Fleck: a History of All Kinds of Masks in Drama

Review by Ellen Murray 17th Mar 2024

An Adjunct Professor of Music at City University of New York and former opera singer, Rosemary George’s musicality and performance skills are on full display in Hiding Behind the Mask: Jesters, Jokers & Clowns.

A unique digital addition to Dunedin Fringe, this masterclass allows viewers to watch George’s lively lecture on all things mask in the arts. From opera to the visual arts to popular culture to theatre, George’s presentation is wide-ranging. Sometimes, the masks are literal, as in Japanese noh theatre, other times, metaphorical.

Clips from the source material she references provide a strong visual stimulus for viewers to understand her argument. We see a Geico (an American insurance company) commercial, 2019’s Joker, opera performances, Looney Tunes, street performers, and many more examples.

The result of two years of study, George’s extensive research is apparent in the breadth of examples provided, ranging across time, mediums, and cultures. As with any academic case study, the effect is somewhat lessened for viewers unaware of the source material. Still, this masterclass is strongest when the example clips bring George’s ideas to life.

Compared to the depth of her research, a weak point comes when George uses performer Michael Jackson as an example. Citing elements of Jackson’s childhood and adult life to explain how these personal experiences constructed his public “mask”, her case study veers dangerously into the psychoanalytic territory. Outside of a therapist’s office, it feels somewhat unethical for a layperson to narrativize a real person, especially a figure as controversial as Jackson.

Overall, those with an interest in the history of opera and theatre will enjoy George’s lecture, particularly the innovative linkages she makes between mediums. Her charming delivery and the accessibility of the digital format (who doesn’t love subtitles) make Hiding Behind the Mask: Jesters, Jokers & Clowns an excellent addition to Dunedin Fringe.


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