DramaBiz magazine -Web Exclusive:
There may be no better way to infuriate those in the theatrical community than by creating a show called “How Theater Failed America.” In the one-man show, which recently moved from Joe’s Pub to off-Broadway’s Barrow Street Theatre, veteran monologist Mike Daisey makes the case that the regional theatre movement has lost its way by abandoning locally-based, community-nurturing theatre to focus instead on wasteful building projects.
Unsurprisingly, the response from many in the theatre has been dismissive. In The New York Times, The Huntington Theatre Company’s Nicholas Martin called some of Daisey’s proposed solutions, including creating endowments for local actors that would cover salary and health insurance, “facile and often naive,” and Kurt Beattie, artistic director of Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre, referred to the show as “shallow” and “inapplicable to my theatre community.”
DramaBiz New York correspondent Larry Getlen met with Daisey in their downtown Brooklyn neighborhood to further explore Daisey’s take on the state of theatre today. (Note: Daisey will also be holding panel discussions about these issues after his Barrow Street shows with participants including Eric Bogosian and Robert Brustein.) This article is Part I of an edited excerpt of that conversation.