REVIEW: Mike Daisey – How Theater Failed America « Chicago Theater Blog:
“You should not have come here,” begins Mike Daisey in his one-man tour de force of nature, How Theater Failed America. For one thing, he continues, the title of the show sucks – ( “What is this, a fucking film strip?”) For another, Daisey’s simultaneously bleak and brilliant autobiographical walk down the memory lane of his career will outrage the politically correct. It will also send those who view theater as a sacred, noble art spiraling and screaming down a wild rabbit hole of profane realty. (Spoiler alert: Those who want to cling to the myth of “community” in theater should stay home and stick to their Twitter confabs.) It’s fair to ask why anyone other than out-of-work actors (which is to say – more or less – actors) should give a whit about the death of theater or about Daisey’s scathing monologue. Will the grid go dark if all of the world’s liberal arts grads collectively decide never to mount another revival of A View from the Bridge? Does the world’s well-being rest on an endless cycle of revisionist Ibsen? Of course not. Yet this is where Daisey’s explosive and formidable talent becomes so gloriously apparent. Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, How Theater Failed America will be powerfully entertaining even to those who could not care less about whether Becket and Brecht vanish from the face of the earth, washed away by the likes of “The Little Mermaid”. As for those with a vested interest in the arts, they will find themselves repeatedly shocked and undeniably entertained by the galvanizing candor of Daisey’s observations. The man articulates truths that just aren’t spoken aloud and in doing so, breaks what often feels like a conspiracy of silence among artists.