September 28, 2005

SIUC hosting international mask conference

by Vincent Rohmberg and Randall Colburn

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- If you've ever worn a mask for Halloween or Mardi Gras you know they hold secret power. A mask may transform a delivery boy into a web-spinning hero, a playboy millionaire into a bat-eared vigilante, and an ex-football player into a WWF superstar.

That's the theme behind the 2nd International Mask Conference, "Masks of Transformation," set for Oct. 5-8 and hosted by the Department of Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Most activities will unfold in the McLeod Theater, in SIUC's Communications Building.

This first-class international conference will feature presentations, workshops and performances by artists from around the world including Sweden, Africa, Israel, Iceland, Bali, Canada and the United States.

Six years in the planning, the conference is the brainchild of Ronald A. Naversen, SIUC theater professor.

"People wear masks everyday," Naversen said. "You have your work mask and your friendly neighbor mask. What's interesting is that these archetypes, like most of our other social customs, have roots in ancient tribal rituals. That's what this conference will explore."

The conference will also feature interactive sessions with renowned mask scholars as well as mask performances throughout the event. Also on the agenda are an open mask cabaret, a mask bazaar and a masquerade ball.

The conference is open to everyone. A complete schedule of events and online registration are available at Or register by calling the Division of Continuing Education at 618/536-7751.

The full conference is $180 and includes all sessions, workshops, performances and events. Daily passes are available for $60. Tickets to individual performances will be sold for $10 on a "rush" basis 15 minutes before performances.

For Masquerade Ball information, contact Patricia Guyon at 618/549-1690.

Providing cultural outreach is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the long-range plan the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.