Masks are magic. Even the "littlest mask", often referred to as The Red Nose. Masks are not intended to hide behind, but are used to reveal. Instead of doing "more" and filling in the blanks, Red Nose Clown workshop actors learn that doing nothing creates magic; unidentifiable elements elevate a performance; and living within the emotional reality of being in the moment is transcending. The littlest mask trains the actor to trust those moments of vulnerability where the performance lives.
The toughest thing to learn to do as an actor is doing nothing on stage or on camera while still being true to the emotional reality of the character. The evolution of mask training moves from expression to character to clown.
There are a number of variants used throughout these broad strokes such as Neutral, Trestle, Larval and Comedia, but ultimately the masks a training device is about freeing the performer to be themselves - or rather being themselves within a character. Each level of mask explores a different level of personal investment. From projection, relying on what the mask informs you to be, through filling the void that lies between yourself and the character without the use of the physical mask. Working with the Red Nose bridges these two states of performance and blurs the lines between playing a character and being a character.
So, how does one do nothing? Through an extensive and on-going practice of constantly being in a sense of reaction. The Red Nose traines the performer to react.