The Big Match Review – Rhonda McClam

The Big Match and other one act plays, written by Gary Beck, is a book that I highly recommend! Here is a quick list and some comments about the plays that stood out the most to me:

Clown Show is one of my favorite one act plays because I enjoyed having the links to it so I could go on YouTube to see the play acted out in performance. Beck’s point of view seems to question, have “clowns” have lost their significance? Clowns reflect a brighter side of life- one that is shaped by positive forces. In reality, we have traded laughter and imagination for an infatuation with complex social, emotional and political issues. My impression of ‘The Clown Show’ was we as a society have a strong need- to laugh; to be creative; to be happy and love one another in the midst of a changing world that is often filled with negative distractions. The Clown Show represents the age of innocence and a brighter side of the character of humanity. Some of today’s youth would rather focus their energy on playing video games and watching television. Videos and shows filled with the most negativity gets the most hits. With the free-for-all of data at our fingertips, the biggest match is between our old selves and the new direction of today’s society. With the continued path of written, visual negativity flowing through the world, we may miss the chance to get lost in the wonders of life- like going to see the circus or clowns perform. It is that simple yet a huge fight for humanity!

Let’s take a look at the concept and principles of clowns and clown shows. Clowns tend to be nonverbal, yet with their facial expressions, movements, props and gestures, tend to “say” a lot. Additionally, clown shows have always been associated with laughing and having fun at the circus. Movies like “It”, the influx of digital and social media, as well as video games have given individuals an exciting and fast-paced lifestyle. Clowns have lost their significance yet represent an innocence that can never really be lost! If it were true along with it, goes the imagination and desire to be creative. The skill it takes to entertain people as a clown is an art form that will not ever die out for at the essence of a clown show is the energy of the spirit – something that can win over the ego!

It takes a great skill to synthesize multiple ideas into an one act play. “The Big Match” really represents a microcosm of the state of our society as are most of Beck’s one act plays. Imagine… a world where we continue to expose our young people to different ways to be naturally creative, while still embracing technology? That’s why “clowns” or symbols of fun and happiness in life must be preserved before we lose ourselves completely to machines and politics.

Art is Long made me realize how deeply a person’s interests and personality can contribute to the type of art that they buy. From this play, I learned quickly that art can be faked and many times even the art “experts” can’t really tell the difference between authentic art or a phony. That’s why it is important to purchase from an art dealer who is reputable. Beck skillfully takes on multiple perspectives with a duality of personalities. I never knew a writer could make so many statements about life in short plays. “Art is long” is the type of one-act play with a message that is not explicitly stated- it’s incredibly thought provoking pertaining to the complexities of issues, however, Beck is subtle at times so that the seriousness of comedy is revealed while you laugh.

Another play that strongly resonated with me was “The Big Match” where the protagonist tends to submit quickly to her emotionally toxic husband. It seems like the more passive she is, the more he shows the negative aspects of his personality. We can easily be drawn into her “nice-nasty” attitude because as is with some misunderstandings, if the other person took a moment to listen intently to what was being said, one would realize that it was just a battle of the ego. This play resonated with me because I often question how different life can be if we take ego out of the scenario and show love which is understanding.

The Chess Match was another example of man’s rage against the machine- or against oneself! In this play, the main character is willing to lose all he owns as he goes way out of control trying to prove himself in a similar manner that the man and his wife went at each other’s throat in “The Big Match”.

In these one-act plays, Beck is making bold assertions and challenging the human ego to expand itself and grow!

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