Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All the Hours in the Day – Mike Daisey « Mist and Mold:

But whether you stayed, or left and returned, the challenge was the same: to hold on to the threads of a multifaceted narrative. This was not the Mike Daisey Monologue as Journalism of past shows, but something new: Mike Daisey Monologue as Marathon Storytelling and the story ranged far and wide. Jean Michelle, Michael Gibbs, Philip K. Dick, David Bowie, Warren Zevon, Jonathan Ames, and Walt Disney. Chernobyl, the Trinity Test Site, Ireland, Tajikistan, Los Angeles, Silverlake, Las Vegas, Barcelona, New Orleans, Epcot Center, Seattle, and Portland (again and again, Portland). Dream voices, audio casette tapes, Tesla coils, fire alarms, and Trinitite. The Wikipedia entry on Philip K. Dick quotes him as saying, “I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards.” That was the story Mike Daisey told and that was the story I heard.

Mike Daisey spoke for 24 hours. Compellingly. Philosophically. Metaphorically. He spun out imaginary worlds moving in time and space. He provided lacerating commentary on the theater, middle age, ethics, and the limits, perceived and real, of human imagination (his heartfelt advice for those who are short on imagination: “just stay up”). He revealed his personal demons. Once or twice, he lost it. And somehow, even though it wasn’t really necessary, it was all hanging together. As the minutes clicked by on the red digital clock hanging from the balcony, as the minutes rounded the 30
s and headed into the 40s, Mike Daisey would tilt back the arc of his story (in the same way Michael Jordan might start an imaginary basketball rolling around and around the rim late in the fourth quarter of a tied-up championship game), he would lift the arc just this high, and then he would turn over his page of notes and leave the stage. Daring you to leave. Betting you’re gonna stay. Asking, hey, performance requires you and me, are you with me?