Trance masks in Denmark - About saying goodbye


As a child I did not like saying goodbye. Even leaving holiday cottages could make me tear up. Now, about 20 years later, I am leaving Denmark with again an aching heart. I sometimes wonder why I chose a life full of travelling and saying goodbye. On the way back I hate it as much as I love it.

For a little less than 2 weeks the Odsherred Teaterskole in Nykøbing Sjælland was my home. On old hospital turned into a place with all differently decorated private rooms, couches everywhere, a bar, a magnificent garden, a fully equipped theatre, forest on the one side, harbor on the other and the best food I have tasted in a long time. Just for this place you should go there.

trance masks mary screamer

But if you’re as lucky as I was you also get to participate in a week long mask course and an additional number of ‘play days’ afterwards with a smaller group. All kinds of European mask players brought their experience, talent and masks to the north of Denmark: a pretty marvellous group of committed people.

Our trainer was Steve Jarand, whom I met in Calgary, Canada in 2012 when he was teaching trance masks based on Keith Johnstone’s work. (See this for more information) During this course I found a mask character Mary. When Keith then visited this course for one afternoon, he spent quite some time on developing my mask. Lucky me… I mean: Mary!

masks denmark couch

Now 3 years later Mary developed even further: she went on a treasure hunt with Banana, played hide and seek with Gentleman, answered audience questions with Kicker and Godan, got cheeky with Otto, performed a scene with Joe, Fred and Siegfried and learned how to speech, bow, sell lemonade and –maybe the most important one- ask questions.


Not only Mary was taking steps. I did too. Actually all the other players and masks were doing amazing stuff and I felt grateful to be part of that experience. Through play we were growing (up) together.

It all may sound a bit weird: trance masks is hard to explain. In case you're interested: I wrote an article on a Dutch blog about trance masks and the art of letting go.

To me that is the real challenge: letting go. Of the outcome. Of holiday cottages. Of such a wonderful week. There is nothing else I can do but to...

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To speak in the words of Franko-Oh ‘Thank you, thank you, goodbye’ to Steve, Kati, Will, Jude, Alex, Julia, Stef, Enna, Marcel, Patsy, Marnix, Michael, Matthias, Max, Simone, Steen, Mia, the Odsherred Teater staff including Bende, Britt, Jara and Martin.