Friday, April 25, 2008

Gothamist: Mike Daisey, How Theater Failed America:

In the past several years, writer and performer Mike Daisey has become widely known as one of the most compelling artists working in the solo monologue format first trailblazed by the late, great Spalding Gray. If you're not familiar with Gray's work, you'll be forgiven if the word 'monologist' makes your eyelids droop, but in the right hands the form is as riveting and rewarding as the best ensemble theater. And Daisey's hands are assuredly right; typically seated at a desk with just a microphone, Daisey has a knack for disarming his audience with an approachable persona, incandescent wit and a gift for virtuoso storytelling.

His enthralling new play, How Theater Failed America, is at once a rollicking and dismaying backstage tour of the highly dysfunctional "machine that makes theater" in cities across the nation. It's an exhilarating show, as Daisey deftly coaxes the room from raucous laughter to hushed contemplation with personal accounts of an art form that's dying and being reborn across America on a nightly basis.

This short review is followed by a pretty extensive interview, which covers a lot of ground that hasn't been touched on, including my plans for a new show this summer, a strange journey I'm taking to a distant land, and a response to Nicholas Martin. It's a good one.