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Alain Vigneau, (Pau, France, 1959). Actor, clown and pedagogue. He has been a pastor for almost 10 years and a clown for more than 20 years. In "Life of Clown" (Ed. The Key) he laughs at himself and at the tragicomedy of being.

He says in the introduction to his book that if God has a sense of humor and to make him laugh it is enough to tell him our plans, you can be proud of having been for him a worthy and very helpful jester. Has your life been so tragicomic? Yes, yes it has been, it has been a tragicomedy, which does not take anything away from life. The question is to embrace life as it is. If we wait for it to be just a comedy, we are not going to go very far. Your first and great tragedy is the death of your mother, killed by a mad lover when you were just a child ... Losing a loved one so close like a mother when you are little, as I was, it is a trauma with a capital T. But to be killed is to add another capital letter, something that leaves you wanting to kill yourself. It was a huge trauma, it was a tsunami. And only now that I'm older do I realize the extent of that tsunami. After her mother was murdered, and according to her book, her father only allowed her to cry for her 24 hours ... Well, that says a lot about the character of my father. And it says a lot about the attitude of adults. My father, like certain adults in dramatic situations, needed to hold on to something very brief, very clear and very precise in order to support himself. After all, he was still a man in shock and the father of three creatures, the eldest of whom was then 12 years old and I, the youngest, 7. My father was a man with a simple master's degree who He was widowed in those terrible circumstances from one day to the next, and the shock he suffered made him cling to what he could. You have been a pastor for almost 10 years, right? I have been a pastor more or less from the year 77 to 87. I went Shepherd of cows, sheep, goats, I made the transhumance ... It was ten years that I dedicated to life in the mountains, to life with animals, to life, let's say archaic, to life that is in contact with the cold , with the heat, with the most basic needs, with very clear tasks and in contact with slavery, because life in the country is very slave. And how did you become a pastor? Because it was very bad. I needed to run away from myself, and I thought running away to the mountain would protect me from my own insanity, which was not revealed to be true. And secondly, because I am more or less a child of the Generation of '68 - although I was 8 years old in May '68 - and that spirit of a return to life in the country, a life very close to the basic needs of human being. That was a dream for me, and not only for me, but also for many friends of mine. What happens is that they did not dare to do it, but I did dare. Now that we are seeing how much we have lost contact with nature, I wanted to be in contact with nature. In addition, I needed to be with the routine of milking, of milking a cow morning and night, because that way I forgot myself, my personal torments. The field has a very bucolic image, but nobody works more than a peasant. And what did he learn in those ten years of life in the field? There is a Sufi proverb that says: "One can run very fast and can jump very high, but never you can forget your feet. " I learned that in the mountains: that one cannot forget oneself, that what one is, one takes everywhere. And I also learned the value of surviving with my young children in the mountains, the ability to survive in such harsh conditions. I learned to live without hot water, without toilets, without comforts ... And I learned to have mettle: there if you wanted to eat meat you had to go to the farm, grab an animal, kill it, tear it apart and eat it. That is something that many of those who eat meat would not know how to do, I learned to have the temper to be able to do it, I learned that if you want to eat meat, you had to have the courage to face the animal's gaze. And I learned a lot about respecting the peasants, about respecting that archaic way of life that is the countryside. And how did you get to the world of clown? Because after ten years in the mountains, I decided to change my life. I came down from the mountain and went to Spain. I am French, I lived on the French side of the Pyrenees, and I decided that I wanted to study mime at a school in Granada, you see. And a year later, I was in Granada, not in a mime school because there was no mime school in Granada, but I was doing theater. I wanted to be a clown. I was good at humor. In my family there was a certain affection for clowns, my mother painted many clowns, he loved clowns. I became a clown myself for making my mother laugh, even though she was dead. I dedicated 23 years of my life to being a clown. And being a clown also helped you a lot, didn't it? Yes. I was so bad and so tormented that I thought that making my torments a show could interest the public, and so it was. Nietzsche already said it: art is pain made light. There aren't many good clowns, so it went quite well for me, I did a lot of shows, I spent many years with him, I traveled a lot ... There is nothing more beautiful that makes an audience laugh, although it is a lot of responsibility and it is a very difficult job. People don't realize the work behind a show. I was very happy being a clown. When you can transform your pain into art, that creates a link with the world, a bridge with the world, and you give yourself a place in the world, because when you are an artist you have a place to take refuge behind. I have also worked with Clowns without Borders, acting with people and for people who had suffered like me. You have done, for example, a workshop with some kids who in 2004 witnessed the Beslán massacre, in which a group of terrorists took a school in that Russian town and murdered 334 people, 186 of them children ... Having gone through the traumatic experiences that I had in childhood, that gave me as a passport to be able to accompany other people from an artistic place, a place creative, not a place of judging or sympathizing with the other. I am not Maritime Salvage, I am not the Red Cross. But I do know about hell, and this has given me a kind of safe-conduct, a passport, to accompany other people in a genuine way. And that has borne many fruits. To be able to laugh, you have to have suffered before? To know how to laugh, you have to know the human soul. And who has suffered knows the human soul. But I don't think it is necessary to have suffered to make people laugh, I don't think it is a sine qua non condition. The people who make people laugh are artists, they are sensitive people, people who can also have their own torments. In my case, the advantage that having gone through these torments gave me is not being afraid, not being afraid of suffering. This allowed me to travel to delicate, difficult places, to accompany many people from the perspective of the growth of personal work, which is what I have developed with my work in Essential Clown. And what do you do now? Well, now I dedicate myself to the Essential Clown. I have a school in Mexico, and although I live here in Spain I go there a lot. And I have groups everywhere where I use clown techniques to accompany people to regain spontaneity, communication with the world, to regain self-confidence, to regain the pleasure of the game, the pleasure of being able to laugh at oneself, the pleasure of being able to pass through pain and happiness with the same delivery. In my workshops he laughs and cries with the same pleasure, with the same dedication. And I do that through clown techniques. Does the coronavirus pandemic we are suffering from also have a tragicomic point? Yes. The tragedy part of the pandemic is very clear, and I believe that we have not yet fully covered it. There is a part that we have seen, that we are seeing, and a part that is still to be seen: the part of the pain of people who have died, people who have lost loved ones, how they have lost them - the rituals of death They are important, and I find it very, very dramatic that only three people could have attended these rituals, those who have had to live the pain in solitude, those who have died in solitude, something deeply tragic. And another thing that seems tragic to me is that we have set fire to our house, to this planet. I personally when I see children with masks, children who have had to cut their rhythm of life, with school, with friends, I feel ashamed. I am ashamed of how badly we have done it, of not having done enough to avoid this. And what would be the comic part? The comedy part is that suddenly we, who are all adults, with things to do, with urgent things to solve, with dossiers to deliver, suddenly we have all stopped dead. We were all running everywhere and now nobody is going anywhere. That is very funny. We have been stupid, not knowing what to do. We have been left as helpless children, without control of the situation, waiting for what the greatest sages say: those of the Government, the experts ... And, at the same time, we are sending a probe to Mars to discover if there is water or if there is life on Mars. And I wonder why? What need do we have to go to Mars to look for life if we do not know how to take care of what we have on Earth? Are we going to space to spoil some other planet? Because that is what we are able to do, spoil things. If I were an alien I would put up a wire fence so that humans would not come to bother because they are disastrous. I see it very funny. This pandemic strikes me as a masterpiece of human tragicomedy.

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