Mike Daisey’s life before wartime:
Mike Daisey has a gigantic head. In his new one-man show at the Public Theater, his expressive face, glowing baby pink or flamingo red, mirrors his explosion of ideas on everything from the sensation of his wife in his arms to the “ecstatic dirtiness” of the New York City subway system. Playing this week as part of the Under the Radar festival of new theater, “Invincible Summer” is ostensibly about Daisey’s life during the summer before September 11, 2001, but it also includes digressions about the dreams of cities, Polish wedding toasts, and the history of the MTA to create a story that is bigger, messier, and far more rewarding than mere autobiography.
Half the fun of Mike Daisey is watching him spin out a tangle of ideas and wondering how he’ll lasso them into a coherent story. He works from an outline, not a script, and he free-forms the words in each performance, a method that gives him the loose spontaneity of great standup and the kinetic force to fill a room as large as the Public Theater.