Masks & Myth
A Mask Masking and Storytelling Workshop
Weekend or five-day experience
Suzanne Benton

The essence of mask is transformation. Behind the mask, we
suspend disbelief, become bold, see uncertainties as creative
possibilities, and experience leaps of faith that allow long-held
stories to be voiced. In the shelter of the mask our identities
expand; stirring performances of our tales emerge; we reach
personal depths that expand our capacity for expression.
Whether realistic, extreme, or minimalistic, a mask marks a
separation from the ordinary world. We’re all subject to its
hypnotic power, its stylized beauty and otherworldliness. Since
ancient times, masks have mirrored, taught, and given
authenticity to cultural beliefs, values, religion, and ritual. They
epitomize history, myth, and psychology as they explore both
our personal stories and our fantasies.

Masking is a universal language that communicates beyond
cultures and time. Suzanne Benton will share some of her
masks, her stories of how masks connect us with people all
over the world, and present a sampling from her repertoire of
Mask and Ritual Tales. We will create masks with a mix of
papers, flowers, wire, twine, felt markers, bark, fabric, string,
wood, thin metal, feathers and glitter using scissors, staplers,
glues and more.

By experiencing the physical and spiritual dimensions of these
masks, we also explore body movement and improvisation as
we narrate the form of a story that has relevance to our own
lives. The masks have a way of centering a person and giving
a sense of protection in a way that encourages giving and
receiving from the center. With these masks, a thousand faces
emerge and grow as people involve themselves and experience
a self-unfolding. The role of the mask may be larger than you
have imagined. The non-verbal presence of the mystical
embodiments of spirit reveal a depth that stretches beyond
anything we have yet imagined.