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The art of Buffoon : Body becomes mask

WorkshopIn collaboration with the Conseil de Culture de l'Estrie
May 29, 2023 to June 03, 2023La Mitaine (Val-des-Sources) and Saint-CamilleSoile Mäkelä$180 until March 31th, then $200 (true value of $1000)


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Training workshop organized in collaboration with the Conseil de la Culture de l’Estrie

Workshop details

« Buffoons are the direct descendants of satirical drama of ancient Greece. The actual word ‘buffoon’ comes from the French word ‘bouffon’ and made its entry in English theater language thanks to the work of Jacques Lecoq » G. Fusetti

Welcome to the physical theater training workshop where we explore the zany and grotesque world of the buffoons ! 

Buffoons can be strange and deformed creatures, visitors from the other side… or outcasts of our society, who knows? This group of blatant fools mocks everything they see, without opinion or bias. They are amused by simply revealing the truth beneath the well crafted hypocrisy of « the beautiful people » and shed light on the grotesque side of humanity. Instead of directing their mockeries to individuals, they treat collective themes, that is, politics, the economy, institutions, the army, beliefs, family, education, authorities… Nothing is taboo.


What we explore in the workshop:

  • Preparatory physical theater techniques
  • Buffoon creation: movement, voice, state of mind and the grotesque costume
  • Band of buffoons: choir play, rhythms and rituals
  • Address topicality and significant themes with the buffoon demeanor and create acts
  • On the last day of the workshop, we open rehearsals to the public and show the juiciest pieces from our exploration. Participants will also be invited to take part in the popular masked parade procession in the village streets on Sunday June 4th at 4 p.m. 

Are you ready to sweat? Physically and thematically ?

Coming out of the workshop :

  • The physical practice will have developed and perfected each’s body consciousness
  • The work on physical deformity will have developed and perfected an exploration technique for new expressive and comical possibilities
  • Each buffoon will have discovered the joy of play in any context, develop the art of mocking and transform it all into a show.

Workshop suitable for:

Professionals or amateurs interested in living arts (comedians, dancers, circassians…) 10 to 15 participants.

The workshop will be given in half English, half French and in Finnish when necessary.

Participants will practice physical transformation to the fullest extent through bodywork, and deformity will be accentuated using accessories such as nylon stockings and stuffing. The organizer will provide a useful base kit but appreciatively requests that each participant bring their own accessories, that being fabric and large black clothes. 

Workshop schedule

  • Monday May 29th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6h + 1h break)
  • Tuesday May 30th, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6h30 + 1h break)
  • Wednesday May 31st, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6h30 + 1h break)
  • Thursday June 1st, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (5h30 + 1h break)
  • Friday June 2nd, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (5h30 + 1h break)
  • Saturday June 3rd, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (5h + 1h break) plus the public presentation of the workshop at 4pm in saint-Camille.

The workshop will take place indoors at La Mitaine in Val des Sources, except for the public presentation on Saturday June 3rd that will be held in Saint-Camille.

About the trainer

Soile Mäkelä is a Finnish pedagogue (MA) and a physical theater artist. Her artistic hub is the Teatteri Metamorfoosi, a physical theater company that she co-founded with Davide Giovanzana in 2005 in Helsinki. She’s involved with various art institutes, independent groups and her own company for which she coordinates educational activities and mask fabrication.  

Soile fell in love with theater mask art almost 30 years ago and has worked with them since. Her relentless interest for masks brought her to France and Italy to study theater following the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq, and later to deepen her knowledge alongside different masters in different countries, among whom the italian Giovanni Fusetti who initiated her into the art of buffoon. She pursued the exploration of this zany style within her company: Movement laboratory MetaLab, during scenic performances as a comedian and director.