Suzanne Benton performing Demeter and Persephone, Eleusis, Greece
Suzanne Benton . Mask and Ritual Tales
Knowing that tales of the past hold precious secrets, humans throughout time have looked to
sacred texts, myths, and life stories, hoping to gain access to a measure of distilled wisdom.
Suzanne Benton's mask performances lay that wisdom bare to those who hear and see her
In cultures throughout the world, forms of traditional mask dance drama combine stylized
voice, movement, and character masks to enact stories of human and divine experience.
Benton has created her own version of this ancient dramatic practice, performing it for over
30 years to audiences ranging from 50 to 5000 in 29 countries.
Benton welds her expressive and unique masks out of steel, sometimes brazing them with
bronze and uses them in performances that reclaim tales from worldwide sources,
transforming them into personal and moving life stories.
It is a profound experience to hear at last from Abraham's wife, Sarah, and Hagar, her
handmaid; from the Greek goddess Demeter, and her daughter, Persephone; from the
Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu; from the Christian Mary; from a Bengali bride; from
Lilith, Adam's first wife; and from an old Japanese woman. Benton's stories unlock the
voices of these women and many others. In her performances we find that their long
silenced strength and vision is still very much alive.
Benton transforms herself into a panoply of multi-cultural characters, and brings our mythic,
historic, and religious inheritance to life. Her embodiment of each character evokes depths of
human compassion, identification, and understanding that audiences rarely have the chance
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