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Saxon Place Kicker Trevor Monk Scores Another Win with 'Rigoletto' Mask

Saxon kicker Trevor Monk's paper mache jerster's mask will be worn in Syracuse Opera's 'Rigoletto'

Saxon kicker Trevor Monk's paper mache jerster's mask will be worn in Syracuse Opera's 'Rigoletto'

Alfred University junior Trevor Monk isn’t shy about telling you he’s a clown at heart. “I have a fondness for clowns and jesters,” he says. “I have the alter ego of a clown.”

As place kicker and punter for the Saxon football team, Monk carries a serious responsibility on his shoulders. But when his mother Brenda suggested he fashion a paper mache mask and submit it for a competition hosted by the Syracuse Opera company, Monk’s inner clown asserted itself. After a short period of research into masks worn during the Venetian carnival, Monk settled on the traditional Commedia dell’Arte character Buffone, or Jester.

 “It wasn’t a difficult choice,” he says.

Monk’s submission was one of sixteen chosen by Syracuse Opera for its upcoming production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, which the company has chosen to set in Venice. Members of the opera cast will hide their Venetian identities behind masks that depict – in addition to the Jester – a variety of Venetian characters associated with the city’s annual carnivale – the pre-Lenten celebration that dates back to Venice’s Medieval period. Masks were an important part of the celebration, partly because in concealing individual identities they permitted the co-mingling of social classes that otherwise remained distinct and separate. Of course, they also permitted a scandalous level of revelry without any legal consequence.

In addition to choosing Monk’s mask as a winning submission, Syracuse Opera has given him two free tickets to attend a production of Rigoletto. The opera will be performed on Feb. 10 and 12 – about two weeks before the start of the 2017 Lenten season.

A resident of Liverpool, N.Y., Monk is a third-year theater major with a minor in performance design and technology.

He made the mask during his winter break, fashioning the shape out of clay and then layering the paper mache over the mold. Since the individual wearing the mask would be singing, Monk designed the mask to be worn over the upper half of the face – with small bells hanging from the traditional floppy head piece.

Monk is a veteran of numerous theatrical productions in the Division of Performing Arts, but he has never seen a production of Rigoletto. He’s looking forward to the performance and seeing his mask paraded across the stage.

He’s also looking forward to Halloween. As in the past, he plans to dress up as a clown.