The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

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The Face Behind the Masks: Ella Stewart

Repertory Theatre’s “The Love For Three Oranges,” included something unique: the new masks that cover each actor’s face on the stage. We know the faces behind the masks, but not the face that made them.
Addison Smith
Senior Ella Stewart holds up two of her handmade masks used in the production “A Love For Three Oranges.”

In the new show performed by the Repertory Theatre, “The Love For Three Oranges,” a form of Commedia Dell’Arte, a style of theater that involves acting with expressive masks.

Who many don’t know is the face behind the masks – the person who hand crafted each mask for characters in preparation for the show.

And that face is senior Ella Stewart, who spent over 77 hours creating the masks for the Repertory groups production. 

“I was like I really wanna handmake all of the masks because that sounds really fun,” Stewart said. “I’m interested in commedia and I love different niche projects where I have to figure out a new way to do something, and she lets me do them and I’m so grateful.”

Stewart spends a majority of her day crafting the masks, using her four art related electives to work.

“The most I’m down here is like five and a half hours a day,” Stewart said. “I’ve been going advisory through lunch, through AP art, I just go to math then go back down for the rest of the afternoon.” 

Each mask is not only made by Stewart, but also designed.

“I use a mixture of plaster, glue, and water and glaze it over to get the clay smooth,” Stewart said. “Then I put house paint and then I would buff the color on, I use eyeshadows mostly. Then I added hair if I wanted it to have hair, then sealed it.”

Stewart makes adjustments and touchups to one of the masks in her workspace where costumes are housed. (Addison Smith)

Having something she made be such a vital part of a performance allowed Stewart to see her hard work pay off and be used by many of her classmates in a performance that the actors and Stewart put hard work into. 

“It was so cool, it was like an actual dream cartoon come to life, it was crazy’” Stewart said. “I was so proud of myself and how everyone was taking them and working with them and it was just so cool to see my part of it and their part of it bring to life this character.” 

Even after the show commenced, Stewart continued to make adjustments and improvements for the Kansas Thespian Festival in January, where “The Love For Three Oranges” will compete for the chance to make it to nationals.


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About the Contributor
Addison Smith, Online Editor
Addison Smith is a senior and Online Editor for the Owl Post. This is her third year on staff, previously serving as a staff member. Addison is involved in Rho Kappa, Link Crew and Quill & Scroll. Outside of school, Addison enjoys hanging out with friends, making art and watching TV shows, her favorites including, “The Rookie” and “Community.” Addison is looking forward to advancing the print paper, furthering her photography and writing stories about the community. What Addison loves most about journalism is the ability to spread information to the public and the fascinating world journalism provides through writing and photography. 

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