Slava Polunin – the happiness in depression, the wisdom of fools and of the kinship of laughter and horror

What real happiness is, what the fullness of life as to learn a profession, if there is no teacher, and how to laugh at all, not to offend anyone, — all this and many other channel RTVi said one of the most famous clowns of our time, chief dreamer of the Universe, Slava Polunin.

Слава Полунин - о счастье в депрессии, мудрости дураков и родстве смеха и ужаса

Photo: RTVI

You know my parents, me and the guys who are younger than me by 20 years. But suppose there are people who don’t know you: maybe very young. Suppose you were asked to write an article about myself on Wikipedia or the Great Soviet encyclopedia. First paragraph: who is Slava Polunin?

The first word, my main profession is a dreamer. I’m a professional. Probably one of the most professional professionals in the world of fantasy, this is my main occupation. Then, perhaps, a clown who amuses the people in a special way. And yet – happy people.

You really are a happy person?

Actually. You need to explain what a lucky man. He’s all the same thing at all, but he in some way manages to be happy. The same problems, difficulties, tragedies, and perseverance – all that accompanies us in life. But he’s happy.

What does it mean to be happy? For me it means to stay in a good mood more often than bad.

Happy can be and the lyrical mood, and even tragic. What is good? Crowded life, that’s good.

And depression do you have there?

Of course, it’s part of our life. Like without it? Any depression at Bay, then get out of it – well, how else? I’m happy even in depression from what is around me: my friends, my family, my audience, my business. And through the depression will somehow make the jump.

For a large number of people the concepts of depression and happiness are incompatible. If you’re depressed – you can’t be happy, and if happy, then what’s depression?

So they look flat. The world is layered, and you both live in all the levels: here the depression, and joy. Each performance is 10 levels, and the lives of probably 100.

Слава Полунин - о счастье в депрессии, мудрости дураков и родстве смеха и ужаса

A snapshot of CAREC broadcast on RTVI December 16, 2019

Andrey Makarevich said that, communicating with you, he was charged with reckless energy, because you have no bad mood. Is not the case?

If I have a bad mood, I’m better around the corner or go into the Bush to lie in wait, to not very the rest to spoil. Ride out and back. Why all this throw?

And you were always so or did it come on?

Someone asked me recently if I’m happy man. I started thinking and realized that was always happy. But before, I did it intuitively, but now do professionally. When I feel that I am unlucky, I think: it is a disease that should be treated. I was doing this, how people do business. My job is to be happy.

A truly happy person is one who is called enlightened. Even among advanced Buddhist lamas such, I have not met. Even the Dalai Lama gave the impression of a man who regularly gets angry and mad. And you are angry, be angry?

Of course, I’m angry, and mad, trying to get out of yourself, but then go from corner to corner and hate myself for doing this. If you go out of yourself – it means you made someone uncomfortable and the next time you need this place to get around.

Your biography everywhere begins with the words: “Graduated from the Leningrad Institute of culture.” And that was before it, the childhood, where everything starts, where all dream of returning, this is almost never a word. The most vivid memories of childhood?

As a child I was probably 10 times more powerful dreamer. Step could not do without anything not to make.

The first memory is nature. Small town, one side forest, the other the river. I 80% of time spent in the woods and on the river. I had a list of responsibilities, I quickly did them and ran there. Nature is everything. And for me it works. I loved the wild animals and trees, I had a fantastic notion – what is now called land art. I built a 10-storey tents in the pines, in the snow did the tunnels. A huge number of installations and performances were my childhood Hobbies. Later, the house of pioneers, it was my whole world. I feast, paint the walls. We had a few, and we kept in fun hands all around.

How to treat your eccentricities surrounding?

One day parents just in jail not put for what I fence knocked down – I did not like fences, loved freedom. We had a wonderful hill from which you can look out on the river, but they put a fence. I took it, rocked it and knocked. We sat and watched the sunset. We are small, and parents immediately dragged to the police to investigate.

I couldn’t buy the game, although mom and dad worked as a salesman in a toy store, and I spent part of my childhood on the counter, playing in all these things. I loved to do: come home, read a book about some of Pinocchio and begin to make a game about his adventure. Even experienced scuba with cat and dropped the cat in an iron pot, in a barrel, which symbolized the sea (cat alive and healthy). I once climbed a tree of great height and takes the Eaglet was put in a chicken coop. The father comes home, and all chickens are: Eaglet all of them lost their lives.

What was the most insane act?

I think it was just crazy. It was necessary to experience everything.

If there was something against which parents and teachers were tough?

Well, how is not tough? I’ll go, happened on the Kursk bulge, where they can kilogram shells to dig up, make any charge with a match and gunpowder, and throw, having fun, blowing things up (though, really, it’s cotton and all). Throw out the window, everyone is happy. Then resorted to the teacher and says, “I’m going home and have me a bomb goes off”. I just threw out the window, not knowing that there are people coming. It was important for me to know how the world works and what interesting things it can do.

When talking about childhood, especially in psychology of the twentieth century, I consider it necessary to remember the tragedy and drama that influenced future adult life.

I hid my diary under the Cabinet when received the two, and then my father found, flogged me drama, tragedy. But it passed quickly.

I mean something more serious. The girl loved another…

I had a very beautiful story. I fell in love with the allotted time (I was 10-15), chose who to be in love. And so, as I was very quiet and shy, not able to come and confess her three years. And all these three years I every night brought in, and cast her on the windowsill flowers. All the surrounding gardens had me torn: all gladioli and dahlias lay in the morning on her windowsill.

What ended your affair? Where is she now?

Nothing, I never told her. She’s still alive, lives in Moscow.

Teachers were disputes, conflicts? Visionaries do not like…

I tried not to come into conflict. I have always been transplanted into the front of the class, otherwise began, “Boum” at the end of class. I was sitting in the first row with the turned back head, everyone laughed, I was entertained. Me every third time expelled from the class, so I spent part of the school on the sports field: it was my favorite pastime.

There was a time when you have clearly identified what you will do in your life?

New year’s eve I saw the movie “the Kid” of Charlie Chaplin, the greatest of his film, impossible tragic and fantastically fun. Mom turned off the TV, it was time to sleep. I cried until morning and realized: I want the same. The same world of movement, passions, joys, sorrows. I realized that I’m a clown. I want to be a clown. In a few weeks, wrote this essay. So it all started.

A month later I went to the hat and shoes for school. Now all the holidays, I was on the stage in a comic miniatures. I started singing in the choir as a soloist, in a shrill voice. So funny singing that the whole village started teasing me the chorus of this song.

Слава Полунин - о счастье в депрессии, мудрости дураков и родстве смеха и ужаса

Photo: RTVI

I had the opportunity to chat with Yuri Nikulin and others less well-known clowns and found that it’s not a myth: the majority of clowns in my life is quite complicated and sad people. Nikulin was probably the only exception. You pretend to be either genius, or really – what I believe – I have learned to be happy. Who were the people you studied? Who can you call your teachers?

Right after school I went to St. Petersburg, because I realized that in order to learn where I wanted to go, you need to find a teacher. I found him and became involved in the Studio, where there was no teacher. But we had idols: Marcel Marceau, Charlie Chaplin, Leonid Yengibarov. Then I started to get acquainted with the great, walk behind them with their tail Rolan Bykov, Yuri Nikulin. For Marcel Marceau I bags dragged. At me 5 times he came to Russia, and I always had an assistant, met at the station, carried the bags, shining the spotlight on the performances. After the show he asked what I have enjoyed. It was the same with Raikin, I just fell in love with this brilliant artist, do not miss a single play. And Rolan Bykov is my “dad,” and Nikulin, Marko and Raikin. I have a dozen, “dad”, which helped me to understand the world.

All this from the point of view of modern morality as something politically incorrect and gender-unequal. And at least one woman was among the teachers?

Among the clowns were few women. Now we are friends with Olga Volkova, this is a fantastic volcano of energy, joy, life, laughter. There are unrealistic people and women, too. But at the time those were the leaders, and I went after them.

Your teachers for the most part was easy to communicate in life or difficult?

No, it’s not difficult. They were so passionately involved in works, and everything that helped them, they immediately accepted and becomes open. If you would try to disturb them in this case probably would have been difficulties. But I helped, and was very easy.

Read the phrase from Hemingway about the fact that there are people difficult to deal with – and it’s hard. But then they disappear, and without them is also difficult. And there are people extremely lightweight, they are easy, and then they disappear from your life and you don’t notice. Was there anyone in your life that was difficult, but for whom you miss very much?

Artists – they’re all hard, among them light not. But we must look for the right system to some other wheels together. I guess I was lucky, or I’m avoiding when I feel it’s not harmonious. I flow through and go, like water, never go into resistance, do not collide with anyone. Always looking for a harmonious environment, which with me in the same tone exists. And then we explode and take off. Someone needs energy collisions, breaking sparks, and I’m different – I’m looking for where I perfect and in harmony. I had a terrific partner Sasha Skvortsov, we spent about 15 years together and when we were together, just having a blast. It is a perfect partner. And like we are close and anything special each of us is not.

Charlie Chaplin worked in different countries of the world, especially in America. There were other artists who worked in authoritarian regimes, then found themselves in the United States. You and the people you are talking about, worked in the Soviet Union. On the one hand, the Soviet Union was fruitful, because there grew a lot of strong and bright artists on the other – it is a system that the initiative was to destroy and crush. You did a deliberate choice: I will never enter politics, I will be alien to political satire and to stay away from these topics?

I still did the same thing, only different. If Durov, for example, traveled to Odessa on the green pig, because the name of the Governor was Green – he was immediately expelled from the city, and he never spoke, at me such things never happened. But still, the same meanings that I have towards the world, I Express them – in a special way. So fabulously fantastic. The word “no” that I gave to Russia. There never existed the word “allowance” – I gave it appeared. He has it all: philosophy, psychology, and children’s game.

I was always looking for a way in which if you become the favorite child of the nation, you’re allowed much more than if you’re finger pointing. Raikin said, if you want someone to criticize, you should be more than he hurt this problem. Raikin never criticized, he always worried – that’s why gray was so. Every thing was taken out of his heart. You can’t be a satirist who said: “you this is bad”. You can only with him, experiencing that, looking for a solution and a way out. Everything I do in the social sphere, this particular parable, in which I give hints to the main disease time.

You can laugh over everything or are there things that can not laugh?

This is all there is. You can’t be from the position from top or side. Need to laugh together. You have to be with that person, object, over which they laugh. You have to laugh at it together.

Слава Полунин - о счастье в депрессии, мудрости дураков и родстве смеха и ужаса

A snapshot of CAREC broadcast on RTVI December 16, 2019

You work and live, including in France. You know Charlie Hebdo and the history associated with it. I think this is one of the challenges when faced idea what is bad, what you can do one and not the other. And after the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo, there was a lot of black humor on the Internet. Was such phrases, like: if you laugh at a homosexual, you are homophobic, if the woman you male chauvinist, over a Jewish anti – Semite, and if over hundreds of millions of Muslims – you advanced done. So I ask, are there things over which you do not allow yourself to laugh?

My stuff generally is not such that I was laughing at someone or something. I never tried to understand what I’m doing – but still very different worlds. I’m in love with this life, we are working on something, and now my partner says: “it is not impossible, it is necessary to alter”. I say, “Look, we found such an amazing thing, it will grow, expand and displace all of what you say. Why do we need to think about what is bad – let’s do something good. Catch it and start to expand.”

The point of all that I do – create harmonious worlds, creating small oases. And then expanding them to the maximum. I don’t go in the wrong direction, in my house nobody talks about the bad. We have the whole world bright. Not because he is a rainbow itself, it is rather difficult. But we create the ideal possibilities of human communication, human relations and try to expand them in this universe. We have the second half of these weights that gives people hope.

Makarevich said that you have almost list to which you are applying every day. This list of business for the day, and if you can something not to do, you just black out. How this fits with the frantic activity in which you are engaged? How do you determine to do or not to do?

If I want to – do and want – strike. But if I someone promised something, to me it means: want. And if not promised, might want to, but maybe not. If you do not depend on the complexity of the lives of others, you’re free. Want to do a lot, I have 20 points a day, up to half of the least you get is something great. I always start 20 projects, if one or two succeed, I’m happy. Others have failed – well, to hell with them. And I have a good mood.

You have projects that you would like to implement, but they don’t come true?

Of course, they are waiting in the queue. So not the time. Sometimes, projects have to be based on years, 10-15 years, then in one motion they were true.

Happens when do – and don’t work?

Most do not work. But as I presume many do, then necessarily something happens.

I reformulate: when you take and fail. It sucks, fucked…

Not sometimes bad. The process of playing is good. It is not necessary to wait for the result, deify process. The main thing in life is not what you eventually did and what you were doing. The process brings so much joy, growth, development, so at this point I was happy and did important work. Why must the final?

Whether your fantasies, to which, in your opinion, the world has not yet reached, not Mature enough?

I know I’m about 15 years ahead of what is happening in my profession. I see already some things that in 15 years will become available to all. I’m working on it. Not because the world is not ready – until it is needed. All the things that you first begin, not all can be realized.

Can you give an example from the past?

Clowns – they are like children. As the membrane. Poets, too. They just hear the sound of the world, but it’s not a conscious sound. As it was in my book: a dream is a premonition. Not something elusive and incomprehensible, it’s just a feeling those things will soon become a reality in our world.

When Sasha Skvortsov and I started making miniatures, I laughed only our friends, but the big bosses said it was nonsense and student initiative. Raikin said, “Wait, don’t rush, maybe it’s a new word, which we still today do not know. Let’s get at least second place to these guys. You will see the hall of all lies!”.

Even Kartsev and Ilchenko started to do this at the same time. I called it expressive idiocy. We laid out is the amount of energy that the professionals said: “You are stupid, you have one inch 5 tricks, enough to keep the audience in suspense”. And we said, “we can’t, we choke the imagination and the joy of life.”

And enlightened mystics of all religions say that one of the main tasks of man – to be as direct and free as a child. Psychologists advise how to Wake yourself, the adult, the child. But I look at my children, I remember myself, and I can’t say that the child always feels happy. He’s just a very rapidly changing state. Do you agree with this statement, “cut it out”?

This is a must! All my work is there – to manage a state of childhood, a lifetime is the main task of man, because through this he can be happier than the other options. Childhood is the key. In childhood we live no brains, all natural substance. We are part of the world. And then we come off and begin to straighten the brain, where to catch and how to harmonisierte. And the child lives in harmony with the world.

I’m still a child: my reaction today, and reactions in childhood are the same. I’m live in peace, do not give brains to ride me and to make logical approach to things. I balance and try to be in this balance. Childhood is the perfect teacher for us on our way of life. Childhood dreams do it, and be happy all my life.

That is, you have to be either a child, or crazy, or drunk?

Not a child to be, and to take from children what they can give you. They are teaching you. I wanted to start teaching at GITIS wrote: let’s learn from mad dogs, drunks and children.

And dogs here at what?

A dog with its tail running around so happy! In animals is nature natural nature. Need to learn how to nature through you said, and she did not resist. Of course, all were afraid that I’d learn from the drunks, and did not let me teach. Nothing, I have wonderful students who are now with me doing all of this.

Given-not given, but in TED (the world’s largest Playground) you have the lecture “the happiness of the fool.”

This is one of my favorite lessons. I don’t teach, I tell about how I came to realize as I go on this path and get the results.

What are the basic recipes? It is clear that people are different, and if they ask you what is the meaning of life, you need to clarify – whose…

Types of happiness – million. Mine is not like yours, his – on our: one likes to sit in the sun and to / meow, have another mountain to climb. At the same time I cannot stop. If I ran into something, no concrete slabs do not stop my actions. I can not sleep for weeks, not until you get the plan. At the same time I stop myself abruptly.

Great my teacher was a homeless person who told me just one sentence. I agreed to meet and he came in two weeks. I asked how so, we have a deal? And he said to me: “Spring…”

I understand that it is wrong to treat the world. Along with this, there is still “Spring…” And if it will join together, starts on the harmonization of the meanings of the universe. If you Balk and punched a concrete wall, achieve great accomplishments, something is wrong in the world. Because there are still your children, your friends, nature around… What you grabbed one rope and holding up? Look at all the beauty around! You want to manage all embrace.

In my lecture 72 rules and the most important of them: do only what’s inside “junket”. Half of happiness lies in this matter. To achieve is not easy but if made the floor of happiness is already with you. Second – do with the people you want to hug. That’s half the happiness. Here and full pants of happiness you have. And another 70 the same items — and everything is in order.

Слава Полунин - о счастье в депрессии, мудрости дураков и родстве смеха и ужаса

A snapshot of CAREC broadcast on RTVI December 16, 2019

The Buddha said that if you can enjoy the fragrance of 1,000 flowers, why worry about the absence of one? It is on the theme of life losses. Is it true you have never experienced the feelings of hatred, extreme, extreme, poison inside irritation, hopelessness, despair? Do these emotions are alien to you?

No, same as everyone. There is hardly a person on earth or he’s got something wrong with the brains that such things did not happen. Most importantly, having all the same life, which we all have, to manage to be happy. It’s not different life. This is the story about the glass: half full or half empty.

I was in hate, irritation, I was everywhere as any other person. But always say the glass is half full. Here is an example: it’s a flood on the mill, and we have to be there holiday, fantastic project. Everything is flooded, all the running around, how so? I said, “what a Beauty, o Lord! Every 150 years, sometimes, but at that time I was in this place. I wonder of nature to see! To hell with them, well, floated the barrel, because the living are all the children floating on mattresses, granddaughter in the refrigerator comes up from the kitchen and gets out the ice cream. We are sitting waist-deep in water and drink coffee, come the neighbor and asks, give a coffee”. How fantastically unreal situations that people find grief. Grief is a good book lost. But if the sofa – the sorrow? Well, there was a sofa, but no sofa.

What to do if there is real grief – that grief think the majority of people? The loss of a loved one?

It is clear, stronger grief than the loss of a loved does not exist.

You had to lose loved ones?

Of course. For example, I was prepared to die. I am so much in this life lived. You can lose me my friends. I left, but I was happy. Unless it’s a tragedy – someone killed a man, then he just walked away when the time came. Maybe it is normal that a loved has gone? Maybe this should have been Universe? It is a pity that I can’t communicate with him, but it’s part of the universe, our life, we must accept it.

There is a parable: the Grand Canyon, the abyss, the tourists and the guide. One of the tourists asks: “Here a sheer wall, and what if I fall?” The guide says: “If you fall, be sure to look to your right – say there is a such a stunning view!”

The perfect situation! I’m glad this man was able to say it to someone who was obsessed with fear. He gave him support. It is important that such people are the next, who can say funny. It’s probably the clown was.

As with the fear to understand?

I had the play on which time in 5 years I’m starting to work with new friends. This is a question about another side of life that is unknown to us, incomprehensible threat. Every time I come to this meeting and limits in a new way. Laughter and terror – the two most powerful emotions human beings, all the rest is much weaker. I from time to time confronted them. I always come up with a respectful bow to this wall of darkness, never step on, but I’m interested in this question: how to exist together horror and laughter.

I don’t watch horror movies. For me, this world no, because I know that I can be for that feature – maybe I’m a demon inside? Here and stay on this side, here, too, need fun demons. Horror is what I wanted to know, but I’m afraid to touch it.

Do you think that after the death of the physical body that goes on?

It would be great. I hope so. My Indian friends very much we were promised, I try to keep it: you never know, maybe I perepadet.

“Good religion was invented by the Hindus that we are giving tips, don’t die…”


What are the cool projects in your professional life, in your opinion, people should see – even in the recording if they are not already going? Or as the “Snow show”, now go and see on Broadway?

I have just this moment life has come. I am 70 years old here. I decided I need to save something interesting that happened, and give the ability to not only those who are fortunate enough at this point to be at this time and in this place, but also to those who are not fortunate enough. So I thought, it is necessary to make a reserve where it is possible to participate even years later.

Now I have agreed with the Moscow government that all summer in Moscow Museum to do an exhibition of all my favorite projects. In all my life I made about 120-130 huge projects and each of them is wonderful. For example, “Caravan of peace” when I have collected 60 of the best theatres from all over Europe, and we rode a city on wheels in all the capitals of Europe, from Moscow to Paris: 7 months, 6 tent, 120 cars, 40 nationalities only children we had. Or “Academy of fools”, she is 30 years old and there are 60 great academics. She was formerly a closed club, and this year we decided to open it and to hold a Congress of fools is a great event, and we do it for the sixth time. All the great fools of the world going on the same stage, this gala concert and after the debate. I have collected all the “Actors” and this year we went to Israel, restored their best performances. With Gideon Kremer we did a wonderful performance where 15 clowns and 25 musicians exist simultaneously on stage. Amazing and beautiful. And the movie “How to become a star” where we are like the Marx brothers, stole a tram and drove it on Peter, and then on the crazy boat drove along the Volga river and did whatever we wanted. I can’t list. In this exhibition you can see it all and participate.

To have fun and be surprised at the antics Polunin, do not have to wait until the summer — now on Broadway in new York is his “Snow show”, which received over 20 international awards. Tickets — here.