Theatrical Performance Mask Development
from a natural object

Concept Evolution:

On May 9-12th The Maui Civic Light Opera Company mounted the largest ever stage production on Maui of  "Phantom". The version of Phantom selected was the Maury Yeston / Arthur Kopit Phantom which has won critical acclaim in the legitimate theatrical community worldwide for it's beautiful story, characters and original music and lyrics.
Richard Cray  is a performer, actor, vocal recording artist and expert in the application of Virtual Reality technology in live performance.

Once upon a time on a beautiful day, on a beach in Maui, Richard's friend Marianna Rydvald happened upon an unusual looking "Seashell". Marianna knew her friend Richard was preparing to play the title role in the Maui Civic Light Opera's production of Maury Yeston's Phantom and presented the shell to him has a gift..

After receiving the gift and examining the shell closely,  Richard realized this shell would make a very unique death mask and here begins our journey!

 Greg Panos photographed the shell and presented it to the producers of the Phantom as a creative offering  which could be used in promotional materials for the upcoming production. Greg is a virtual reality and simulation expert in California and was asked by Mr. Cray  to investigate the potential for the shell to be used as a digital model for the fabrication of a wearable mask. The mask would use existing 3D scan data of Richard's face for the interior contour.

Greg turned to his career long friends David and Steven Addleman, principals with the Cyberware company of Monterey, CA. for their advice and consultation with the project. Cyberware specializes in the development of systems and technology solutions for the 3 dimensional measurement and surface digitization of real-world objects of varying sizes for a variety of industrial and professional applications, including reproduction and fabrication.

  David and Steve graciously accommodated Greg by selecting an appropriate technology to digitize the small (1 inch) shell object.

They chose their specialized  Model 7e shoe-box sized 3D scanner to create the detailed 3D model that would be required of the tiny shell.

The process took about 20 minutes while the scanner delicately and elegantly moved and positioned the shell in place for the digitizer's laser to scan the surface.

The data from the 3D shell model was then converted into an industry standard format using Cyberware's proprietary software tools. Once the conversion was complete the data was delivered to Greg on a CD-ROM within minutes.

The "3D Shell Data" was taken back to Greg's Lab for use in visualization and examination for potential development into a scaled, wearable facial mask.


A solid object materialization technique using machine carved styro-foam was one of the recommendations by Cyberware.

Greg was encouraged to contact several companies in Southern California to participate in the development of the physical scaled model of the shell-mask.

This project concept represented a novel effort to utilize state-of-the-art 3D Virtual Reality concepts to produce the first wearable stage mask from a natural object for a performer to use in a major theatrical production.

All participants have voluntarily given their time to play a role in the evolution of live theatre production and to encourage others to look ahead to the future of entertainment.

Greg Panos  -  May 19th, 2003