Dolorèze Léonard and Madame Samantha, La Diseuse de « Bonne humeur » (The “Good Humour” Storyteller)

By Liliane Lessard

Introduction

Do you know Madame Zazou?  Miss Linda?  Miss Dolly?  or Dolorèze Léonard, a resident of Sutton?  If you look up these names on YouTube you will find short videos featuring these famous characters created and played by Dolorèze.  Some catchy titles that you can watch are suggested at the end of this article.

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Why this article on Dolorèze?

Because in December 2021 Dolorèze was awarded a $13,000 grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec to research, create, and design a buffoon named La Diseuse de "Bonne Humeur" who would walk about sowing seeds of good humour.  She spent the week of February 13 to 20, 2022 in Studio B of the Sutton DAR Studios in order to fine tune this character called Madame Samantha.

Who is Dolorèze Léonard?

Dolorèze Léonard has been working as an artist for 42 years, which she celebrated on February 14th 2022.  She was behind the creation of "Cirque du Soleil" and has, since 2007, played the always delightful Madame Zazou, the clown in residence for the circus’s employees.  Daniel Lamarre acknowledged Dolorèze's contribution to the "Cirque du Soleil" during his appearance on "Tout le monde en parle" on January 16th 2022; he even talks about her in "L'équilibriste", his book published in January 2022.

Dolorèze considers herself a self-taught artist yet is happy to have taken workshops with Grant Heisler (1985, Jesters) and Philippe Gaulier (1988, Acting, melodrama, and tragedy), her two great mentors.  She has had a busy career but has always made room for teaching the art of being a buffoon, being a clown, and creating characters.  She will be giving workshops this spring:  two in Montreal and two in Europe.  A great traveller, Dolorèze has journeyed all over the world to enrich her human and creative experience.

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So who is Madame Samantha?

Madame Samantha is the "Good Humour" storyteller.  An old buffoon who has been dragging her hump, literally, it goes without saying, for several centuries already.  She is a very sensitive, very intelligent character; her one and only purpose in life is to sow the seeds of good humour.  How does she do it?  She wanders through the streets, paths, or trails, accompanied by her two faithful horses who drag a cart carrying a wheel of fortune with 22 spokes, each displaying a Tarot card.  She makes a pitch or plays music to announce her show in a style that will entice the audience.

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Madame Samantha's two horses
and her musical instruments: xylophone, egg-shaker, flute and kazoo.

Madame Samantha invites the people she meets to spin, if they so wish of course, her wheel of fortune.  Everyone then carefully observes the movement of the wheel and the Tarot cards passing by.

When the wheel stops, The “Good Humour” Storyteller gets to work.  She describes the card, sings a song, quotes a proverb, recalls a quotation, tells a story... always with the sole aim of sowing seeds of good humour.

But you might ask, what about the Hanged Man, the unloved one in the Tarot?  The Hanged Man sees things in reverse, in a different way, and this is what Madame Samantha explains.  She gives the following example:  with his head down, the Hanged Man sees the ground, the worms moving around, the ants working, life taking shape, the shoots of fresh grass...

The Hanged Man can be an invitation to take a break, to step back, to look at things differently, to reflect, to put things into perspective, far from conventional and rigid patterns.  Madame Samantha might even conclude her spiel with the popular expression that says you have to take a step back to take a step forward.

What does Madame Samantha look like?

When you meet her, you will see for yourself that The “Good Humour” Storyteller is old, her clothes are from another era.  Everything is weathered, with a patina:  faded jacket, baggy knickers, outdated skirt, golden used slippers, worn-out shawl, headgear of yesteryear...

So which headgear will crown Madame Samantha’s head?  You'll have to meet her to find out.

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These photos will help you to recognize Madame Samantha.

What inspires Madame Samantha?

Given that she has been on the road for centuries, Madame Samantha has met all kinds of people, thinkers, good and bad, clowns, buffoons, court jesters, luminaries of all kinds, and she has had a lot of time to reflect on all that she has seen and heard.  Her sources of inspiration are multiple and even contemporary, as evidenced by the books found on her work table.

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This notebook is precious, it is here that Madame Samantha notes down findings she will sow according to her encounters...

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When can we see Madame Samantha?

You may have the opportunity to see Madame Samantha in the streets of Sutton in the spring or summer because Dolorèze intends to take her out and show her the beauties of our town while meeting people from the region so that The “Good Humour” Storyteller can indeed sow the seeds of good humour.

Do not hesitate to say hello to Madame Samantha if you see her on the streets, paths, or trails of our region.  Don't be afraid:  she is truly a good soul.

Such an encounter is a moment of pure happiness:
talk about it to people who have already met her!

Videos by Dolorèze Léonard available on YouTube

  • Madame Zazou fait du bien !!!
    (Madame Zazou does good!!!)
  • Bingo avec Madame Zazou
    (Bingo with Madame Zazou)
  • Madame Zazou explique le ras le bol
    (Madame Zazou explains what it's like to be fed up)
  • Comment s'habiller en télé-travail
    (How to dress for teleworking)
  • Mlle Linda explique c'est quoi le 2 mètres de distanciation ???
    Miss Linda explains what is the 2 meters of distance???
  • Chorégraphie de l'anti-virus
    The anti-virus choreography
  • Madame Zazou fait du Maman Fonfon avec des bouchons
    Madame Zazou does Maman Fonfon with corks
  • Madame Zazou fait du bricolage avec du riz
    Madame Zazou does rice craft
  • Madame Zazou nous fait une recette réconfortante !!!
    Madame Zazou makes us a comforting recipe!!!
  • Madame Zazou/ Comment casser un oeuf/How to brake an egg
  • How to open a coconut shell?/Comment ouvrir une noix de coco ?