Just a moment ago, by total chance, I came across this article at a website called Backstage.com. It refers to a method of actor training which involves wearing a "neutrality mask".
I will not regurgitate the article here, but basically, the argument seems to be that the mask, which covers the face and predictably has no facial expression to it, helps strip away certain mannerisms and traits in a performer. Without those "stories in the body" that we all hold, the actor is forced to create a more generic, universal, and hence, more powerful story telling persona through the use of body motions and such, while donning the mask.
All I can really say about it after reading this article is, I do not know what to think. On the one hand, I can see the great benefit of stripping away excess baggage and such, in order to create a more pure presentation.
Yet on the other hand, I wonder if a method like this is required, or even useful to most people, in order to obtain that mind set.
Indeed, when I hear some of the near life changing experiences some of the students interviewed for the article share, I am somewhat at a loss. I say that because the mask itself looks not unlike the thing I bought last week for 3 dollars at the Halloween shop, according to the pictures on this website about Jacques Lecoq, the largest proponent of the technique. Given this fact, having never donned the mask in a class myself, I am tempted to see it as a tad gimmicky. Surely there are more practical ways to attain the state of calm neutrality that can be of benefit to an actor before a scene.
Once again, for emphasis, I grant that I have never been enrolled in any classes which make use of the mask and the technique. If anyone reading this has in fact made use of this technique, please share your thoughts. Perhaps I would have a better notion of it then.