Faust puts on "The Grandpa" mask, above, that he uses in his one man show. He explained that the expressions on his masks totally changes the mood and feeling of his performances.

1 man,
20 characters


Saturday, Feb. 21, 2003

>> Ticket information for tonight's performance of "The Mask Messenger" by Faustwork Mask Theatre is $20 general; $15 seniors, military, UH faculty and students; and $10 children. Call 944-2697. A story on Page 25 of yesterday's Weekend section included incorrect information.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Rob Faust wants you to know that his theatrical presentation with masks is not a dour and serious artistic-with-a-capital-A affair.

The director of the Faustwork Mask Theatre company, who'll be performing a one-man show tomorrow night at the Paliku Theatre on the windward side, certainly wants the audience to appreciate "the impact of a show filled with 20 different characters, done in essence with only one actor, and accomplished with the use of masks."

Faustwork Mask Theatre

Where: Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

When: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow

Tickets: $25 general; $20 seniors, military, UH faculty, students and children

Phone: 235-7330

But there'll also be some "physical comedy, a bit of feeling of standup and monologues. There are also 'silent masks' that will be expressed through just body language, which will amaze people as the masks come alive."

Faust is also a one-man mask shop, as he is its sole designer and maker. "I put an emphasis on character, its emotional state and attitude. All are very expressive emotionally, and it's my job to make mask live. Some are half masks, some oversized and some smaller that I put on the top of my head."

At six-two -- and baldheaded -- Faust cuts a commanding figure on stage. A former high school and college all-round athlete, he later discovered the joys of the performing arts, joining the acclaimed (and physically demanding) Pilobolus Dance Theatre, either touring or working on projects with them between 1980-85.

His own Faustwork Mask Theatre company "took off in 1987 and, since then, either myself or member of my company have been to 48 states (the Dakotas not included), Australia and Hong Kong. And this makes my fourth trip to Hawaii." (Besides his stage work, he's also working on a project with the local company Monkey and the Waterfall, who also use masks and dance, rehearsing with them all week for a piece for them.)

Faust will be performing an evening-long piece called "The Mask Messenger." "It's made up of little vignettes, but with a through line commentary on masks, expanding the concept of what a mask is, having different costumes to create different personas. I'll also talk about the masks we all wear everyday, as well as briefly talk about masks from other cultures.

Before and after: Rob Faust as the sneakly little "Creep," and as Faust.

"It'll be done on a minimal set, a few lighting cues, a little music -- but it'll mostly be spoken word and silence. There'll be character humor, physical comedy, and some of the vignettes are quite beautiful, if I say so myself."

The 80-minute piece, while physically demanding, is something Faust can pace himself through, compared to his earlier years with Pilobolus. "With them, I knew that with certain programs, I would have a healthy sense of dread all day. When the pieces were over, we would go offstage out of breath and exhausted in the wings. With this one, I may end up sweating, but at least I'm not dying.

Faust also wants it to be known that "The Mask Messenger" is very much geared towards an adult audience, although he does do shows aimed for school-age kids.

"The show is fun and funny," he said. "When people leave the theater, I want them to say 'I had no idea what it would be' and 'I never experienced masks like that before' and 'I'm amazed how many characters he could be.'

And Faust will be doing a little something special for his performance tomorrow night.

"I sing a song called 'Haole Blues' that's done with a half-mask. I only do it in Hawaii. It's something I wrote on my second trip here. It's about the whole nature of Hawaii and who's here, being a haole here and both feeling the good and bad of it. I wanted to come up with something humorous, a little ditty for those who feel underappreciated."

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