Thursday, March 19, 2009

LA/OC Theatre Examiner: Must-See ‘How Theater Failed’ in Culver City - Jordan Young:

Got big plans this weekend? Drop ‘em. Get you butt down to the Kirk Douglas Theatre in beautiful downtown Culver City. Beg, buy or steal a ticket for How Theater Failed America, through Saturday, March 21st.

No costumes, no sets, no cast of thousands. Just a guy named Mike Daisey and his manic energy and his wonderful brain and his big ideas, big enough to fill the stage and spill out into the street. Big ideas about theater, what it is, what it could be, where it’s going and why.

Daisey recalls how he fell in love with the process of making theater under the spell of a psychotic teacher, his attempts to produce plays in western Maine where the moose outnumbered the audience, and an abysmal Seattle production of Genet’s The Balcony that almost finished him.

He’s not afraid to poke fun at his fellow actors and their passion for opening night platters of cheese, or bite the hand that feeds him by mocking the concept of season subscriptions—and blasting big theater companies for investing in buildings instead of art. Daisey doesn’t paint a pretty picture about the future of the American theater, but serves up a fervent (and often hilarious) argument for its survival against long odds.