May 01, 2005

Slava Polunin: The World's Greatest Clown

Since its premiere in 1993, Slava Polunin’s Snowshow has traveled to more than 50 cities around the world. Polunin says that, after the first performance is over in a new city, all the local stagehands and technicians who, before the show, laughed at Polunin’s strange props, come on stage and start rummaging through the clown’s piles of strings, rags and worthless what-nots. Amazed, the stagehands ask, “How can this be? How can this string have become a synchrophasotron? How did this rag turn into a bird? How did a bottle turn into a snow machine?” And they ask, “Why did you do nothing but pace the stage? Why does the audience look at you with absolute enchantment?” Polunin answers simply, “But why do we have to do anything? What we do is communicate. We create an atmosphere. With the help of nuances, happy accidents, strings and rags, we try to create the miracle of the theater.”


Slava Polunin is a happy man. He always finds something interesting and unusual in life. His vocation is to connect theater with real life, to walk the thin border between art and reality, to “explode” life with crazy fantasies and thus infuse it with creativity. It has made him, according to The London Times, “the best clown in the world.” Polunin has won many prestigious international theater awards, including Spain’s “Golden Nose” and Edinburgh’s “Golden Angel.” In 2000 he was awarded Russia’s “Triumph” prize.

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