Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Play a Day: The Big Fuckin' Giant

Rachel Bykowski
For Tuesday I read The Big Fuckin' Giant by Rachel Bykowski, and available at New Play Exchange.

Last year I happened to be at my alma mater for that year's new plays festival, and had the opportunity to see a workshop production of a play I had read the week before at NPX -- This Is How You Got Me Naked by Catherine Weingarten.

That was one play presented that weekend. Another was The Big Fuckin' Giant. I regret not having seen that as well, and intensely physical piece, which you can read on the page but it must be something to see.

The subject, on the face of it, is wrestling. My son began wrestling a few years ago, when he was in fifth grade. Attending matches, I began to understand and respect what is unfortunately regarded, in the professional world, as a circus. As a joke.

The simplicity of the sport. Two people could, with no equipment, play this sport. A non-violent, non-impact sport in which you grapple and manipulate your opponent until you have dominated them, put them into a position in which they cannot move. Pinned them. No sticks, no balls, no padding, The human body is the only necessary equipment, to subdue your opponent.

This is also exactly the worst way to think about interpersonal relationships. When you enter into a mindset in which every relationship is about dominance, your kinship with men, and with women, then unhealthy things can happen.

Bykowski has created a trio of men who are each sympathetic in their own way, and in turn each of their weaknesses are exposed by the others. Women are absent, though a couple are defined for us by these men, as types -- an African-American who is fetishized and feared, the aloof, white cuckolder -- and these collegiate athletes channel their aggression and worse, practice their dominance on the women they cannot understand with or on a blow-up doll named Judy.

It is an aggressively physical script, sweat leaps off the page, and one in which weakness is made apparent, targeted and taken advantage of. It is also a painfully eloquent parable for our time, or for all times.

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