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 Mikhail Rumyantsev


Born:   10 December 1901
Deceased:   31 March 1983

clown

      

He is one of the few people in the world that has been mentioned in the Big Soviet Encyclopedia not under his real name and surname but under his pseudonym…Karandash, alias the People Artist of the USSR Mikhail Rumyantsev, a world famous clown.

Mikhail Nikolayevich Rumyantsev was born on December 10, 1901 in Saint Petersburg. In 1914 he entered the Arts and Crafts School of the Society for Encouraging Arts yet studied there without much interest. In 1922 he moved to the town of Staritsa, where he was employed to draw posters for a local theatre. In 1925 while going on tour with the theatre, he remained in Tver and worked there as a poster designer. The same year Rumyantsev moved to Moscow and got a job as a film poster artist for the cinema Screen of Life.

 


 
In 1926 after seeing Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks next to him Mikhail Rumyantsev decided to become a circus performer. He attended stage movement courses, proceeding with Circus Art School, where he was majoring in clown acrobatics.

From 1928 Mikhail Rumyantsev took the stage in the clown image of Charlie Chaplin, which he abandoned in 1932, two years after finishing the Circus Art School.

In 1935 he appeared under his new name Karan D’Ash on arena of Leningrad (Petersburg) Circus. It was the time of elaborating his new stage image, costume and performing manner. In 1936 he was transferred to the Moscow Circus, where the public welcomed the new artiste with great interest. At that time the image of Karan D’Ash was supplemented with a little Scotch terrier, the dog becoming his hallmark attribute. This is how the career of Karandash (translated as “pencil”) the Clown began.

 


 
The performances of Karandash were remarkably dynamic and energetic, with bold satire reflecting the sore points and burning issues. Thus, for example, when on a tour in another city, Karandash would learn about some popular corner of the city beforehand and fit its name into his clownery. This unusual trick evoked both the audience’s surprise and laughter.

In the 1940s - 1950s Karandash started involving student assistants into his turns. Among them there were the would-be famous Yuri Nikulin and M. N. Shuidin. The clown was so popular that he could financially “rescue” any circus – full house was guaranteed if Karandash was there on the night poster. Karandash was very thorough and painstaking in his work. He demanded irreproachable accuracy from his assistants, light operators and circus hands.

 


 
Altogether Karandash worked in circus for 55 years and last time appeared on arena just two weeks before his death in 1983.

Mikhail Nikolayevich Rumyantsev lived a big and bright life. In the year of his death Rumyantsev’s daughter Natalia Rumyantseva published a small book about her father. It starts with the citation: “When Karandash was asked if he was happy with his lot on circus arena he smiled: “Never ask this question a person who decided to become serious at the age of seventy. For forty years I have been joking on arena. Now it is time to look into who and what I have been making fun of. Of course, I have not said everything. But I wanted all I said to be up-to-date. Every art has its own path to truth, and every artist has its own way of grasping the truth. I had chosen a funny way”

 

Sources:
 peoples.ru
 Russian Wiki
 


Tags: Russian circus     








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