Mask over Matter is one of those plays with a name that conjures forth visages of wonderment and intrigue. Instead, the show offers a mix of pantomime and improv where the performers are wearing a mask in order to play archetypical characters from many a narrative. In what they represent are not necessarily that of comedy and tragedy that Greek theatre made famous. The style hails from Italy where it’s more commonly known as Commedia dell’arte. Deception is used to create its humour, and it’s a different type of improv that many may not be familiar with, much less get.
At least for this young comedy group, they are certainly learning the ropes fast. With a few members of the cast schooled by the Dave Morris’ Improv Class, at least they are being trained by the best. Andrew Brimmell and Shahin Mohamadi are two such individuals. Together, with Daniel Belkin, Robin Valerie and Kevin Koch, they play a diverse cast of characters from various social standings. They are caricatures of various occupations and a night’s show can be a discourse in social studies. As with many a performance, Brighella (Shahin Mohamadi) Arlecchino (Kevin Koch) and Columbina (Robin Valerie) introduce what this type of comedy is about and audiences are essentially being taken for a ride of slapstick after a few audience members provide a few ideas and direction to help move the night’s performance along.