Just how many masks?

Coming to Worthing
Coming to Worthing

The greatest compliment is when someone in the audience asks him just how many masks he used during the performance.

As Marco Nanetti says, the answer is always “Just the one!”

“We use full masks. There are no words. There is movement and there is music and there are projections, but no words. But if you get the acting right, if you can make the movements right, it is like the audience can actually hear your thoughts and see your thoughts.

“Sometimes you get the comment that they can see your expression changing on the mask – even though it is one fixed expression.”

The show is the The Best Thing which Vamos Theatre, the UK’s leading full-mask theatre company, bring to Worthing’s Connaught Studio on Thursday, April 13 at 7.30pm on its latest national touring production

Funny, heart-breaking, human and set in the 1960s, the show tells the story of 17-year-old Susan, growing up during the changing times of the decade. A bitter-sweet story of mistaken morals and broken hearts, 45s and beehives, the production looks at what the sexual revolution really meant for young people living through it.

“I have just joined the company for this job,” says Marco. “The whole cast is new to the company. To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about them. A friend of mine sent me the link to the casting call, and I did a bit of research, and I liked what I found out. I have always had a passion for masked theatre. I had a classical training at Birmingham School of Acting, but I found myself going in the direction of physical theatre. One of the reasons is that I am a foreigner (from Italy). It is harder to get people to trust me with words. Physical theatre is a type of theatre that is much more movement based, and I just like it. And I guess I am good at it.

“I think there is always a fascination about masks and the magic that happens when you put a mask on and you start to move in different ways to the way you usually do. With half-masks you can still speak, but this is full masks and no words.

“The audience’s perspective is the perspective that really matters, but we have a different perspective as well. In rehearsals, we did a lot of filming of what we were doing so that we could see what works and what doesn’t work.

“It was important that we should be able to see ourselves. Sometimes you think a movement has to be big and then it looks really exaggerated and you realise that it needs to be smaller.”

Marco added: “I am from Italy. I came to England when I got a place at Birmingham School of Acting in 2008. I studied there for three years until 2011. After graduating, I moved to London and more or less I have been living in London ever since.

“I always thought I would stay, but it has been really tough, especially at the beginning, moving to London, feeling a goldfish in a big pond. But then you realise that London is full of opportunities. Back then, I couldn’t really see them. But now I can see that there is a wave of energy that can be surfed.”

Award-winning Vamos Theatre has been praised by the BBC and The Stage as one of the UK’s major exponents of full mask. The company, based in Worcester, tours nationally and internationally every year, and aims to showcase and popularise masked theatre. Its visual style also makes it completely accessible to deaf and partially-deaf audiences, without the need for signer or captions.

Box office: 01903 206206 or online at www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.

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