Thursday, January 7, 2010
After our overnight field trip, we were lucky to have the morning free to recuperate from our journeys; unfortunately, it was pouring rain so it did not allow us to take advantage of resort living. Instead, many of us slept late and met up in the early afternoon to have our first public transport experience south to the Rio Piedras section of San Juan.
Today we had a lecture on mask making and public performance by Deborah Hunt, and incredible artist and theatre maker in her own right. We previously saw Deborah’s work on Monday afternoon, but today we had the unique opportunity to view a slide show of many of her works over the last twenty years here in Puerto Rico. Here is a selection:
Thereafter, Deborah demonstrated the power of the masked performance as she took volunteers to try on the masks and see where it led them. This brief demonstration showed the power of yet another non-verbal narrative form that allowed the participant to free themselves from self-consciousness (work that Ms. Hunt thought works particularly well with adolescent children, abused women, and other marginalized or troubled groups because of the anonymity and protection they feel behind the mask) and often had very positive outcomes, particularly if they participated in the making of the masks—an activity which she strongly feels is also therapeutic in many ways.
After the demonstrations we each had the opportunity to select a mask and then worked in small groups to create our own presentations based upon the idea of giving a gift. Here are two examples:
We traveled back toward the hotel and stopped in at a random restaurant on Ponce de Leon Ave for dinner and here's what that looked like (try not to be jealous):