Marcel Janco and the Dances at the Cabaret Voltaire
Rumanian artist Marcel Janco created masks for the performances at the Cabaret Voltaire. Hugo Ball described the impact of these masks and the dances that they inspired in his diary:
Janco has made a number of masks for the new show, which bear the marks of something more than talent. They recall the Japanese or Ancient Greek theatre, and yet they are wholly modern. They are designed to make their effect at a distance, and in a relatively small space of the cabaret the result is astonishing. We were all there when Janco arrived with the masks, and each of us put one on. The effect was strange. Not only did each mask seem to demand the appropriate costume; it also called for a quite different set of gestures, melodramatic and even closer to madness. Although five minutes earlier none of us had had the remotest idea of what was to happen, we were soon draped and festooned with the most unlikely objects, making the most outlandish movements, each out-inventing the other. The dynamism of the masks was coirrestible. In one moment we were aware of the great importance of such masks in mime and drama. The masks simply demanded that their wearers should start up a tragico-absurd dance.