circus figures visited the bronze statue of Leonid
Yengibaryan set up in front of the circus building
in Yerevan on March 15 with flowers to pay tribute
to the great clown. That day was the anniversary
of his 68th birthday, but he passed away from
his audience when he was only 37.
"He was a kind, who emitted light. He was
a teacher not only for clowns, but for all artists
and people," says famous Russian actor, director
Under colorful lights, a clown enters a stage,
leaving behind heavy curtains. His lips are painted
and Chaplin-style shoes are dangling on his feet.
A rain of laughter falls on his face as he enters.
Leonid Yengibaryan, with "autumn in his heart",
probably used to take his umbrella with a hole
in it for this very reason.
He would enter a stage and use his elastic movements
and sadness in his eyes to tell a story that encouraged
his audience to: "Don't hurt each other,
don't offend each other." He told people
that the stairs, but not a staircase, are the
most important things in this life. The stairs
that first go up, and then go down. And one should
not offend those stairs too.
Being natural and clear as a child, and at the
same time complicated and contradictory as a philosopher
the mime Leonid Yengibaryan amused and made all
people around laugh. However, he always remained
cheerless himself, with his big surprisingly serene
and sad eyes.
"Sadness often comes to me. That's maybe
because I give all my joy to an audience and there
are only grief and loneliness left to me,"
he wrote in his memories.
"Leonya not only took upon himself the sadness
of people, but also I had always had an impression
that he bore all the sorrow of the times and people,"
says People's Artist of Russia Natalya Kamburova.
The jolly and sad clown joined a circus at the
age of 22. He wrote he had tried many professions.
He had been a wrestler, during which time he said
he learned the principle of "turning the
other cheek" is wrong.
He was also a scriptwriter.
"No authors were willing to work with me.
This circumstance forced me to become a scriptwriter
myself," he wrote. "And I liked it."
He created his unique circus, where he was an
actor, conductor and scenario writer.
"He was imitated a lot, many people tried
to perform using his scenario use, but nobody
laughed," say Sos Petrosyan, director of
the State Circus.
He was the one to perform parodies and to tell
silent philosophical stories. He was the one to
be awarded a first prize in Prague, at the International
Competition of Clowns.
"However, Yengibaryan wasn't interested
in titles," says Albert Minasyan, the acrobat
who worked with Leonid Yengibaryan for many years.
"The only thing that could amuse him was
the fact that people liked his performance and
would become a little kinder after it".
Kindness of Yengibaryan was boundless, and he
believed that kindness was the only way to success.
"He was highly appreciated by all,"
Minasyan says. "I remember, once after the
performance Leonya was asked to go on stage one
more time. He somehow did it and he saw (French
actor) Jean Marais bowed in front of him. The
latter was amazed and impressed by his talent,
imagination and plasticity which were difficult
to think of."
Another movie star Millie Delar once said that
if he went to Paris all flowers would be under
He did not manage to go to Paris and be awarded
with those flowers. He was only 37 when he fell
asleep with the smile on his face and did not
wake up the next morning. Nobody knows why. Perhaps,
he was tired and wanted to have rest.
There aren't many statues of clowns in the world.
However, Leonya has heart-to-heart conversations
with people from his pedestal. He again tells
people silent stories and says parting words to
them. "He was a fairy-tale of my childhood,"
says sculptor Levon Tokmajyan. "I restored
his life; I created not the objective Yengibaryan,
but his soul, his character, his expression and
his grief. The bronze statue of the downcast and
sad clown hugging himself who is looking at a
rose expresses all his loneliness.
"He is fixed in my memory in this very pose.
Once I threw a rose from my seat to him. I saw
him after the performance behind the curtains
with the rose pined to his dress at his chest.
He was looking to that rose and filling his soul
emptied for audience with the scent of that rose."
The bronze likeness has been at its place near
the Yerevan circus for seven years, bringing alive
the popular clowns emotions.
There is an impression that he will spread his
wings and fly into sky. He will say again and
again, "I want to soar as a bird and to be
an autumn leaf."