I think they possibly do make you do things, masks. I am very interested in masks--Keith Johnstone's chapter on masks in his brilliant book Impro has really stuck in my head in the many years since I first read it.
Anyway, I explored this a bit in my latest Cabinet of Curiosities story, which is called "What the Mask Wants," and which is creepy.
I have always wanted to work with masks in a theatrical sense, but I've never gotten to (yet). Still, any role you take on is a kind of mask, and I've taken on a good one I think in Capital T Theatre's production of There is a Happiness that Morning is by Mickle Maher. It's about two English professors who accidentally have sex in front of their students (long story!) after reading a poem by William Blake. When the play opens, they're supposed to be apologizing to their classes, and one will, and one very much won't. It's tremendously funny and also quite thoughtful--about Blake, about marriage, and about how we bounce back and forth between "everything's so beautiful!" and "we live in HELL" and how the more we do that, the farther we get from "that slow sea and shore inside of us: that strand forever calm and wide where we might wade, breathe, and linger, fusing life with the Real."
So it runs October 24-November 16, 2013 at Hyde Park Theatre, and you should come!