Clown Show






Gary Beck




(Two men in clown costumes are putting on white face. The boss enters)

Boss:                           Will you two hurry up. The kids are waiting. It's bad enough that

                                    grown men should make fools of themselves, clowning around,

                                    but you're late.


2nd Clown:                   Circumstances beyond our control….


Boss:                           I don't care about any circumstances. Get ready and get out there,

                                    or you won't get paid.


2nd Clown:                   We have a contract.


Boss:                           Then sue me. Now get moving, or else.


2nd Clown:                   That's not the state to put us in just before a show.


Boss:                           Do you believe these guys? If you're not ready in five minutes,

                                    I'll put you in a state of shock. (exits)


2nd Clown                    (to his back) That's not the state I meant.


1st Clown:                    What do you mean?

2nd Clown:                   A sovereign state, you fool.

1st Clown:                    Why, then?

2nd Clown:                   Because, I'm bounded on five sides by air and on one side

                                    by terrestrial matter.

1st Clown:                    I'm bewildered.

2nd Clown:                   (posing.) I'm a prince.

1st Clown:                    I mean you've bewildered me. Who makes you a prince?

2nd Clown:                   No one made me a prince.

1st Clown:                    You better explain yourself.

2nd Clown:                   You dare demand….Well, no matter. Do you attend, you fool?

1st Clown:                    All ears.

2nd Clown:                   Admit a little reason, then. I am, in front, back, both sides and

                                    on top, encased by air.

1st Clown:                    Ah.

2nd Clown:                   And my feet rest upon the earth.

1st Clown:                    Ah.

2nd Clown:                   Thus: I exist between aforementioned points, a principality.

1st Clown:                    Ah….Then you must always fear invasion.

2nd Clown:                   How so?

1st Clown:                    Well, neighbors being neighbors, will always….How shall I

                                    say it…. Poach?
2nd Clown:                   Ah.

1st Clown:                    Seek territorial expansion at the expense of others.

2nd Clown:                   A perspicuous comment.

1st Clown:                    What?

2nd Clown:                   I don't fear my neighbors.

1st Clown:                    Who then?

2nd Clown:                   Rather say what then.

1st Clown:                    Well?

2nd Clown:                   Say it!

1st Clown:                    If you insist on being petty. (no answer) All right, all right.

                                    What then?

2nd Clown:                   Internal revolution. It crumbles the foundation of the state.


1st Clown:                    Do you mean like a disease?

2nd Clown:                   Another perspicuous comment.

1st Clown:                    What does perspicuous mean?

2nd Clown:                   That you're smarter than you look.

1st Clown:                    Ah. I always knew you recognized my intelligence (he does a brief

                                    smart song & dance.)


2nd Clown:                   But it doesn't mean anything.


1st Clown:                    Why not?


2nd Clown:                   Because once again we're being ordered around by a bully who

                                    doesn't understand or appreciate us.


1st Clown:                    It's only temporary.


2nd Clown:                   So is this life…. I'm so tired of disguising myself in order to hide

                                    from so many horrors.


1st Clown:                    But we please so many people, especially children.


2nd Clown:                   Pleasure is fleeting. So is everything else, even the sidereal



1st Clown:                    What's that?


2nd Clown:                   The past, present and future of all things.


1st Clown:                    So what's left?


2nd Clown:                   Enduring until the end.


1st Clown:                    That doesn't sound very promising.


2nd Clown:                   Promises are always broken.


1st Clown:                    That's not true. When I was six years old my Mom promised to

                                    take me to the movies, if I was good.


2nd Clown:                   And?


1st Clown:                    I was. She did. That proves that promises aren't always broken.


2nd Clown:                   In the vast scheme of things, what is a simple promise kept

                                    to a child? Everything is collapsing around us, despite the

                                    promises of our leaders to make things better. Yet we still

paint our faces and put on our costumes in our attempt to stem the tide of despair.


1st Clown:                    It's not that bad.


2nd Clown:                   It is. It is. And it will only get worse. (enter Boss)


Boss:                           I thought I told you clowns to stop fooling around and get ready.


1st Clown:                    We're almost done.


Boss:                           If you're not out there in two minutes, I'll cancel the show and

                                    give you what's coming to you.


2nd Clown:                   I hope you get what's coming to you.


Boss:                           What did you mean by that?


1st Clown:                    (To Boss) He hopes your efforts will be appreciated.


Boss:                           Yeah. Now get going.


1st Clown:                    We'll be right out. (exit Boss.)


2nd Clown:                   Will this suffering never end? But no matter what, we must go out

                                    there and be entertaining.


1st Clown:                    It's our job.


2nd Clown:                   Then we should quit.


1st Clown:                    We can't do that.


2nd Clown:                   Why not?


1st Clown:                    Who would make people laugh?

2nd Clown:                   They'll find somebody.


1st Clown:                    What if they can't?


2nd Clown:                   They will.


1st Clown:                    But what if they don't?


2nd Clown:                   Then they'll get along without laughter.


1st Clown:                    They couldn't.


2nd Clown:                   Of course they could. Laughter's not that important.


1st Clown:                    You don't mean that.


2nd Clown:                   I do.


1st Clown:                    Well we couldn't get along without people. We need them.

(enter Boss)


Boss:                           This is your last warning.


1st Clown:                    We're ready. (exit Boss. Both clowns stand up, put on red

                                    noses and clown hats.) Let's go. And remember….


2nd Clown:                   I know. Laugh, clown, laugh. (exit.)               


© Gary Beck


Bio:  Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in CitiesAssault on NatureSongs of a ClerkCivilized WaysDisplaysPerceptionsFault LinesTremorsPerturbationsRude Awakenings and The Remission of Order (Winter Goose Publishing). Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications), Blossoms of DecayExpectations and Blunt Force (Wordcatcher Publishing). His  novels include Flawed Connections(Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor and Crumbling  Ramparts (Gnome on Pig Productions), Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). Acts of Defiance (Wordcatcher Publishing). His short story collections include A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications), Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). The Republic of Dreams and other essays (Gnome on Pig Productions). Feast or Famine and other one act-plays will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of magazines. He lives in New York City.