At first sight a charming comedy play, presented to the audience by two masters of clowning Pierre Etaix and Semen Shuster, stage name “Housch-ma-Housch”, has a very simple plot. Two clowns appear on the stage and because of their height of artistic skills, carry away the audience into a fairytale land of laughter and illogical clowning.
The play starts with a demonstration of the film of Pierre Etaix “Happy Birthday” (“Academy Award”, 1963). Pierre Etaix is a creator of this film and also the performer of the leading role in it. During the 12 minute movie, the main character says a lot about french humor and character. The film ends with the main character returning home after curious episodes and absurd stories… but his girlfriend has already fallen asleep, at the table far from being festive, pending his return. And in this latest absurdity nothing else is left for the hero, but to replace the taste of the forthcoming romantic rendezvous by the taste of ordinary sandwich…
The culmination point of the play, but not of the movie, is when Pierre Etaix comes down from the screen and appears on stage with a sandwich in his hand. He is already aged with a tired look but as a real artist he is happy to be in the footlights.
Serious, with another worldly look, he writes something and tries to pass a message to the future. But the message, without particular addressee, falls into a black void. The desire to share his experience and secrets of the profession led him to the creation of the image of the conventional imaginary follower. The drawing is projected from the piece of paper onto the screen. A sure hand prints silhouette, and then features of “Housch-ma-Housch”. When Pierre leaves the stage, the character created by him comes to life on the screen…
And then continues to live on stage, filling up all of its space by “waterfall” of reprises. Efforts of “Housch-ma-Housch” are not lost in vain. His great skills returns the master to the audience. The aging clown, caught by spotlight, plays the concertina. Pierre doesn’t just want to convey the experience and secrets of the profession. His memory is a lifetime, with views of the fragility of a human’s happiness, of the transiency of time.
All manifestations of life are dear to him. It is quite evident in the final act of the play which is on the screen. They do not just drink whiskey with “Housch-ma-Housch”. Each mouthful – is a moment of life, which they offer to fill up with a taste of it.
The play is very unusual. It commonly presents theater, cinema, clown and animation. Personages move from the screen to the stage and from the stage to the screen with an amazing ease. Unusual is a tandem performing on the stage. Two characters present different generations, styles and schools of performing. Nevertheless there are uniting moments: their skills, devotion and fidelity to the profession and to the audience.