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We learned a lot from frequently viewing the Jim Carrey movie The Mask as children. But the main takeaway? We all wear masks, metaphorically speaking.
That's a direct, quasi-deep quote from the film, spoken by Carrey's much-needed therapist. Of course, Carrey wore a very literal mask (with ancient magic powers) that allowed him to express a very obnoxious, pop culture-literate side of himself. Similarly, but more serious and subtle, were the masks used in Japanese Noh Theatre, a performing art form that found actors wearing handmade masks in their portrayals of characters from myths and historical events. With fixed expressions on their masked faces, actors had to use body language to further convey emotions. All in all, it was an affair much more restrained than pretty much anything Jim Carrey's ever done.
To learn more about Noh (now that you're nearly as well-versed in The Mask as we are), head to Phoenix Art Museum's exhibition “Quiet Rage, Gentle Wail,” which includes 22 Noh masks and about as many prints depicting Noh actors onstage. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, November 16, at 1625 North Central Avenue. Hours Saturday, June 14, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1880.