Clowns have been present in our culture for a long time. This hero improvised a lot, and his jokes were simple and even rude.
Today the clown is a circus or entertainer, using buffoonery and grotesque. In addition, clowns work in various genres, no self-respecting circus can do without such people. Who else will make the audience laugh during the breaks between numbers?
Interestingly, in America, the image of a clown is surprisingly scary. This comedian has served as an inspiration for the actors of this genre, his image has been copied and used many times.
I must say that the most outstanding clowns have realized themselves far beyond the circus, in cinema, theater, while performing a tragic repertoire. The most famous people of this funny, not easy profession will be discussed below.
Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837). This English actor is considered the father of modern clowning. It is believed that it was he who became the first clown with a European face. Thanks to Grimaldi, the comic character became the central figure of the English harlequinade. Joseph's father, an Italian, was himself a pantonymist, painter and choreographer in the theater. And my mother performed in the corps de ballet. From the age of two, the boy has been performing on the stage of the theater. Failures in his personal life turned the young Grimaldi's gaze to work. Fame was brought to him by the performance at the Royal Theater of "The Tales of Mother Goose". The actor has become a clear innovator, because his character, Joy the clown, is similar to modern images. The clown was the central character in the numbers, he came up with buffoonery and visual tricks, invariably causing the audience to laugh. The image of a simpleton and a fool dates back to the days of the commedia dell'arte. Grimaldi brought female pantomime to the theater and established the tradition of participating in the performances of the public itself. Playing on stage undermined the clown's health, effectively crippling him. At 50, Grimaldi went broke and lived on a pension and aid from charity performances in his honor. When he died, the newspapers wrote with bitterness that the spirit of pantomime was now lost, because there is simply no equal to the clown in terms of talent.
Jean-Baptiste Oriol (1806-1881). At the beginning of the 19th century, there was still no such image of a clown. Comic equestrian acrobats joked in the arena, there was a mime rider and a clown. This state of affairs changed when the figure of Jean-Baptiste Oriol appeared in the French circus. As a child, he was sent to study in a family of rope dancers. Soon Jean-Baptiste became an independent artist of the regular traveling circus. The career of an artist quickly went uphill, an acrobat rider with comic talents was noticed. In the early 1830s he was invited to join the troupe of Luasse. With her, Oriol began to travel around Europe. The next step was the Paris Olympic Theater-Circus. The debut took place on July 1, 1834. Jean-Baptiste showed himself to be versatile masters - he is a tightrope walker, a juggler and forces. Moreover, he was also a grotesque actor. A strong and powerful body was crowned with a cheerful face, whose grimaces amused the audience. The clown wore a special outfit that was a modernized outfit of a medieval jester. But Oriol did not have makeup, he used only general soil. In essence, the work of this clown can be considered carpet. He filled in the pauses between performances, parodied the main repertoire. It was Oriol who formed the image of a clown, gave him a light French humor and brought romanticism to the circus. In old age, Oriol began to play in comic scenes, participating in pantomimes.
Grock (1880-1959). The real name of this Swiss is Charles Adrien Wettach. His family was an ordinary peasant, but his father was able to instill in his son a love of the circus. Charles' talent was noticed by the clown Alfrede, who invited the young guy to the troupe of a traveling circus. Having gained experience in it, Charles left his partners and went to France. By that time, the clown had learned to own several musical instruments, knew how to juggle, was an acrobat and tightrope walker. Only here in the National Swiss Circus in the city of Nîmes, the young artist achieved only a job as a cashier. Charles was able to make friends with the musical eccentric Brik, eventually replacing his partner Brock. The new clown chose the pseudonym Grock. The artist made his debut at the Swiss National Circus on October 1, 1903. The troupe toured a lot. With her Grock traveled to Spain, Belgium and even South America. In 1911, in Berlin, the clown suffered a fiasco, but the tour in Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1913 was much more successful. Grohk began to be called the king of clowns. The tour of Russia was also a triumph. After the end of the war, Grock resumed performances again, having toured even in America. In the early 30s, the clown even made a film about himself, which had no success. After the end of the Second World War, the artist released two more films with his best numbers, and in 1951 he even opened his own circus "Grok". The last appearance on the arena of the famous clown took place in 1954. A mask named after Grock, which is presented as a prize at the European International Circus Clown Festival.
Mikhail Rumyantsev (1901-1983). Clown Pencil is a classic of the Soviet circus. Michael's introduction to art began in art schools, but the training did not arouse interest. The working career of the future artist began with drawing posters for the theater. In 1925 Rumyantsev moved to Moscow, where he began to draw posters for cinema. The year 1926 became fateful for the young artist when he saw Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks next to him. Like them, Rumyantsev decided to become an actor. After the stage movement courses, there was a school of circus art. From 1928 to 1932, the clown appeared in public as Charlie Chaplin. Since 1935, Rumyantsev began to use his new image of Karan d'Ash. In 1936, the clown works in a Moscow circus, the final point in the formation of his new image was a small Scotch Terrier. The clown's performances were dynamic, filled with satire on the most pressing problems in society. Coming on tour to a new city, the artist tried to insert the name of some local popular place into his speech. In the 40-50s, Karandash began to attract assistants to his speeches, among which Yuri Nikulin stood out. The clown was so popular that only his performances guaranteed the circus financial success. The cheerful clown conscientiously devoted himself to his work, but outside the arena he demanded complete dedication from his assistants. Pencil's circus career spans 55 years. The last time he appeared in the arena was just 2 weeks before his death. The artist's work has received numerous awards, he was a Hero of Socialist Labor, People's Artist of Russia and the USSR.
Nook (1908-1998). Under such a pseudonym, the German Georg Spillner became known to the whole world. When he began his working career as a dentist in 1932, no one expected such a sharp turn in his life. But soon Georg gave up this job, becoming a musical clown. Already in 1937, the German Theater in Munich announced him as the most famous clown in Europe. The artist's specialty was his large suitcase and a huge coat, in which various musical instruments were hidden. Nook performed at the most famous concert venues in Europe, but despite his fame he remained a rather modest person. The clown was very musical, playing saxophone, mandolin, flute, clarinet, violin, harmonica. In the 60s, they wrote about him as the most gentle clown of all time. Nuka was often compared to another legend, Grock, but the German had his own unique image. They say that once a certain clown wanted to buy one of his numbers for Nuka, but he refused. After all, his image is all life, with its experience, feelings, success and slaps in the face. For many years his wife, who played the piano, also appeared on the stage with Georg. In 1991, Germany awarded him the Cross of Merit for his charitable work to his former colleagues. Nook himself said that a stereotype has developed in society according to which a clown should be a sad person in life, and constantly joke on stage. But such an image has nothing to do with him. The clown wrote that it is not necessary to study to obtain such a profession, but hard work is necessary. The artist's secret was simple - everything that was in his performance was personally experienced by Georg.
Konstantin Bergman (1914-2000). This Soviet carpet clown appeared in the family of a circus orchestra conductor. It is not surprising that the boy was constantly attracted by the arena. Since childhood, he participated in pantomimes, mastering other genres of circus art. The professional career of a clown began at the age of 14, with his brother Nikolai he staged the number "Acrobats-Voltigeurs". Until 1936, the couple performed together, using the images of the popular comedy film actors G. Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin. During the war, Bergman served in the front-line brigades. The unpretentious reprise "The Dog-Hitler" brought him fame. It described how the clown was embarrassed to call the dog barking at everyone Hitler, because she might be offended. In 1956 Bergman became an Honored Artist of the RSFSR. The clown was able to create a mask of an important dandy by donning an absurdly dandy costume. The circus artist switched to conversational reprises, talking not only about everyday topics, but even about politics. Bergman was a fairly versatile clown, including in other numbers. He jumped over the car like an acrobat, took part in air flights. Bergman toured the country a lot, Iran applauded him. The famous clown starred in two tapes, in "The Girl on the Ball" he played essentially himself.
Leonid Yengibarov (1935-1972). Despite his short life, this man managed to leave a bright mark on art. Mim managed to create a new role - a sad clown, besides, Yengibarov was also a talented writer. From childhood Leonid fell in love with fairy tales and puppet theater. At school, he began to engage in boxing and even entered the Institute of Physical Education, but he quickly realized that this was not his calling. In 1955, Yengibarov entered the Circus School, where he began to study clownery. While still a student, Leonid began performing on stage as a mime. A full-fledged debut took place in 1959 in Novosibirsk. By 1961, Yengibarov had traveled to many Soviet cities and had resounding success everywhere. At the same time, a trip abroad, to Poland, took place, where the grateful audience also applauded the clown. In 1964, at the International Festival in Prague, Yengibarov was recognized as the best clown in the world, and his short stories were published. Documentary films are being made about the talented artist, he himself is involved in the cinema, collaborating with Parajanov, Shukshin. The famous clown at the height of his fame leaves the circus and creates his own theater. Yengibarov together with his constant director Yuri Belov put on the play "The Clown's Quirks". During 240 days of touring the country in 1971-1972, this performance was shown 210 times. The great clown died in a hot summer from a broken heart. When he was buried, a downpour suddenly fell in Moscow. The sky itself seemed to mourn the loss of the sad clown. Yengibarov went down in the history of the circus as a representative of the philosophical clown pantomime.
Yuri Nikulin (1921-1997). Most people know Nikulin as a brilliant film actor. But his calling was the circus. The father and mother of the future clown were actors, which must have predetermined the fate of Nikulin. He went through the entire war, receiving military awards. After the end of hostilities, Nikulin tried to enter VGIK and other theatrical institutes. But nowhere he was accepted, since the selection committees could not see the acting talents in the young man. As a result, Nikulin entered the clownery studio at the Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard. The young actor, together with Mikhail Shuydin, began to assist Pencil. The couple toured extensively and quickly gained experience. Since 1950, Nikulin and Shuydin began to work independently. Their joint work continued until 1981. If Shuydin had the image of a shirt-guy who knows everything, then Nikulin portrayed a lazy and melancholic person. In life, the partners in the arena of relations practically did not support. Since 1981, Nikulin became the chief director of his own circus, and from the next year he became the director. The participation of the famous clown in the cinema cannot be ignored. The debut on the big screen took place in 1958. Gaidai's comedies (Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures, Prisoner of the Caucasus, The Diamond Hand) brought national love to Nikulin the actor. However, behind his shoulders and many serious paintings - "Andrei Rublev", "They fought for the Motherland", "Scarecrow". The talented clone proved to be a serious and deep dramatic actor. Yuri Nikulin received the title of People's Artist of the USSR and Hero of Socialist Labor. Near the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, a monument to the famous clown and his partner is erected.
Marcel Marceau (1923-2007). This French mime actor created a whole school of his art. He was born into a Jewish family in Strasbourg. Marcel became interested in acting after meeting Charlie Chaplin's films. Marceau studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Limoges, then at the Sarah Bernhardt Theater, where Etienne Decroux taught him the art of mimicry. During World War II, the aspiring clown fled the country. He took part in the Resistance, and most of his relatives, including his parents, died in Auschwitz. In 1947, Marceau created his most famous image. Clown Beep with a white face, in a striped sweater and a tattered hat, became known all over the world. At the same time the clown troupe "Commonwealth of Mimes" was created, which existed for 13 years. The performances of this unusual theater with solo performances have been seen by the best venues in the country. In subsequent years, Marceau performed on his own. Several times he toured the Soviet Union, the first time it happened in 1961. In one of the scenes, sad Bip, sitting at the table, listened to his interlocutors. Turning to one, the clown made a cheerful expression, and to the other - sad. The lines alternated and gradually accelerated, forcing the clown to constantly change his mood. Only Marceau could do that. The miniatures with Beep's participation are generally filled with sympathy for the poor fellow. In 1978, the clown created his own Parisian mime school. New miniatures and new heroes have appeared in his arsenal. It is said that it was Marcel Marceau who taught Michael Jackson his famous moonwalk.For his contribution to art, the actor received the highest award in France - the Order of the Legion of Honor.
Oleg Popov (born 1930). The famous artist is called the founding father of Soviet clownery. In 1944, while doing acrobatics, the young man met the students of the circus school. Oleg was so carried away by the circus that he immediately entered the school, receiving in 1950 the specialty "eccentric on a wire". But already in 1951 Popov made his debut as a carpet clown. The artist was able to create an artistic image of the "Sun Clown". This cheerful man with a shock of light brown hair wore overly wide pants and a plaid cap. In his performances the clown uses a variety of techniques - acrobatics, juggling, parody, balancing act. Particular attention is paid to entre, which are realized with the help of eccentrics and buffoonery. Among the most famous reprises of Popov, one can recall "Whistle", "Ray and" Cook ". In his most famous act, the clown tries to catch a ray of sunlight in his bag. The artist's creativity was not limited only to the theater, he starred a lot on television, participated in the children's TV show "Alarm Clock". Popov even acted in films (more than 10 tapes) and directed circus performances. The famous clown took part in the first tour of the Soviet circus in Western Europe. Performances there brought Popov truly worldwide fame. The clown became a laureate of the International Circus Festival in Warsaw, received an Oscar in Brussels, received the Golden Clown prize at the Monte Carlo Festival. In 1991, Popov left Russia, for personal reasons, and also unable to accept the collapse of the great Motherland. Now he lives and works in Germany, performing under the pseudonym Happy Hans.
Slava Polunin (born 1950). Polunin was educated at the Leningrad State Institute of Culture, and then at the variety department of GITIS. In the 1980s, Vyacheslav created the famous Litsedei theater. He literally blew up the audience with numbers "Asishai", "Nizza" and "Blue Canary". The theater has become very popular. In 1982, Polunin organized a Mime Parade, which brought together more than 800 pantomime artists from all over the country. In 1985, within the framework of the World Gathering of Youth and Students, a festival was held, in which international clowns also took part. Since then, Polunin has organized many festivals, staged plays, numbers and reprises, trying on a variety of masks. Since 1988, the clown has moved abroad, where he gains worldwide fame. His "Tender Show" is now considered a theatrical classic. Spectators say that Polunin's snow warms their hearts. The works of the clown were awarded the Lawrence Olivier Prize in England, awards in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Barcelona. Polunin is an honorary resident of London. The Western press calls him "the best clown in the world." Despite the "frivolous" occupation, the clown thoroughly approaches his work. Even the craziest and most adventurous show performed by him is actually carefully thought out and weighed. Polunin works a lot and does not know how to rest at all, however, his life is pleasure, on stage and outside it. And most importantly, this person creates a holiday.