Monday, September 07, 2009

Mike Daisey’s “How Theater Failed America” « Threat Quality Press:

I say this, also, as a person who is generally contemptuous of monologists and solo performance artists. Daisey is great. Masterful comic timing, and astonishing breadth and variety from a man who spends the entire time sitting in a chair, brilliantly interweaving hilarious theatrical misadventures with acerbic social commentary and a pervasive, ominous sense of doom.

Because doom is really what he’s talking about right now, and he’s mashed up the unalloyed joy of panic-stricken, seat-of-the-pants shit theater that anyone who’s ever worked in the field knows–full well and by heart. There are no memories among actors or writers or directors more treasured than the shows that almost didn’t work, the plays that held together by spit and bailing wire and increasingly desperate prayers to St. Genesius. And that adrenal terror, that limbic euphoria is mashed up directly, both starkly and still cleanly, with the deep despair of a man who is watching his art form suffering a malaise of disinterest. There’s no middle ground in a performance like this–it was humor and misery and nothing in between, because fuck you. If you wanted to be bored, you should have stayed at home.