The Half Mask
The half mask is probably the most recognisable style of mask, particularly in its Commedia dell’arte format. The mask covers half the face, usually the top half, allowing the mouth free for verbal communication. They tend to be people’s ﬁrst thought when masks are mentioned, and they are a much misused form. Because speech is used, people think it is easy to knock up a half mask and slap it on the actor, let them run around a bit and ‘hey presto’ instant wacky otherness. But half masks, while a different discipline from the full mask, still require respect and skill and consideration of their application to be most effective.