Imago, The Theatre Mask Ensemble (Portland, OR)


A man and a woman, seemingly naked, are shown from the neck up look to the right and up.  They are lit from below, casting strange shadows on their faces

Duet from Imago Theatre's Missing Mona, aka Leo's Lost Notebook. Photo courtesy of Imago

Imago, The Theatre Mask Ensemble of Portland, Oregon was established in 1979 by co-directors Jerry Mouawad and Carol Triffle. The company presents highly stylized performances, which incorporate elements of musical theater, physical comedy, visual illusion, and other distinct art forms. Previous productions include Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit and the original works FROGZ and biglittlethings. In addition to producing a five-play season in Portland, Imago also tours nationally and internationally, reaching an audience of 60,000 people annually. The troupe previously has received commissions to create choreography and imagery for theater, opera, dance, and symphony performances. As part of its outreach mission, Imago provides workshops and residencies to schools as well as agencies serving young people with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

In FY 2004, Imago received an NEA Creativity grant of $13,000 to support the development and production of a new multimedia theater piece based on Luigi Pirandello’s Each in His Own Way. Written by Carol Triffle, Missing Mona, aka Leo’s Lost Notebook explores the elusive nature of reality and illusion and the diversified nature of perspective. Imago’s development process for the play included writing the text, kinetic and cognitive exploration of the text, movement analysis, exploration of design elements, and the development of the production’s physical comedy elements.

In April 2004, Imago performed the new play 12 times to more than 1,000 Portland-area patrons. This debut production of Missing Mona, which included slide projection, 16mm film, and live video, received a Projection Design award from the Portland Theatre Arts Critics.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)