Roman theatre masks were an extremely important
part of Roman theatre. This is because the masks
that the actors wore helped carry the voice of the
actor so that members of the audience were able to
hear what the actors were saying. It has been
suggested that because of the shape and sizes of
the masks that were used, voice projections were
able to be heard from a greater distance than you
could hear someone who was not wearing a mask.
Theatre masks were important for a variety of
different reasons; to distinguish a character, to
project the actors voice and to relay the emotional
disposition of a character. Theatrical performances
were dependent upon masks and body movement to
relay not only what an actor is saying but also how
they are feeling.
Masks require a wholly different style of acting in
order to communicate what is lost by the lack of
facial expression; the masked actor must
compensate by using a complementary physicality.
Rather than limiting the actor’s ability to transfer
complex text or emotions, however, the stylized
movements of a masked actor bring a new dimension
of expression, as well as a new language, to the