I am writing this from Portland, where I am about to perform a 24-hour monologue at the T:BA Festival. Fall is in full flower, and all around me are tattooed girls, strong coffee, weird art installations, and the delightfully inchoate hum of this city. It's a good place to be making something ridiculous and insane.
Today I'm writing about THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS, which begins performances in New York on the 11th of October at the Public Theater after an engagement at the Sydney Opera House. It's a work we're extremely proud of, and I am overjoyed to finally be bringing it to my home town.
So far this monologue has been seen by over 48,000 people. In an age when we seriously question our power to affect change on any level, we can feel that raising awareness means nothing--what has been changed by telling the truth? We doubt. The world is too large, too vast, and too complex for us to affect, especially in the theater, of all places! What difference could speaking person-to-person make against the scope and scale of the world?
But the truth is that this is the language of despair. Nothing has ever mattered if we are not conscious--it is a revolutionary act to speak, it always has been. Nothing can even have the possibility of change if we sit in the darkness, refusing to light a candle...refusing even to open our eyes. If we never see, then we can never fail.
I will never forget having dinner with Steve Wozniak, Apple's co-founder, after he saw the show. Woz is a large man, with big expressive hands, and is a geek's geek--he literally had six cell phones on his person when I met him, and he spoke with a kid's enthusiasm for technology. But he also talked about how my work had made him weep for the company that Apple had been, for the choices we've all made together, for the world we've all had a hand in forging. I'll never forget him telling me how he now had genuinely begun to see.
I have seen that same metaphor shift in the eyes of people in my audiences. I have heard it from Apple employees who speak to me, quietly, after the shows. It crops up in the news now, stories that never found traction before. It breaks out of the corporate narrative when people ask about Shenzhen at Apple's shareholder meetings. It stirs and writhes because people are thinking, and that is an act of defiance. It is the beating heart of the human spirit.
It is a humbling and clarifying thing to be telling this story at this moment. Steve Jobs has left Apple as CEO, and no one can know what his future holds. Times like this are moments of great importance, when we can assess where we stand, and weigh the legacy we've created for ourselves, in both its wonders and its horrors. The challenge of these times is to stand up and say something true: free of opportunism and small-mindedness, setting aside hype and grandiosity, and to instead actually embrace the truth with all its imperfections, contradictions, and immensity.
We are bringing this work to NYC, but it will mean nothing without you. If you use technology to see the world you are part of this--you must be, or you would not be reading this message. That is the magic the theater is best at--when pretense fails, and we are in the same room, and we will speak about these tools and what they mean in all our lives.
I hope you will join us. Tickets are selling very quickly, and I've included an offer below to help people from the list get in to early performances.
New York Premiere
AND THE ECSTASY
OF STEVE JOBS
Created and Performed by Mike Daisey
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory
October 11 - November 13, 2011
"THE MASTER STORYTELLER--one of the finest solo performers of his generation." - The New York Times
"FUNNY, LITERATE AND PROVOCATIVE" - Chicago Tribune
"SHARP-WITTED, PASSIONATELY DELIVERED" - Boston Globe
Following the success of The Last Cargo Cult, Mike Daisey turns his razor-sharp wit to America's most mysterious technology icon in this hilarious and harrowing tale of pride, beauty, lust, and industrial design. He illuminates how the CEO of Apple and his obsessions shape our lives, while sharing stories of his own travels to China to investigate the factories where millions toil to make iPhones and iPods. Daisey's dangerous journey shines a light on our love affair with our devices and the human cost of creating them.
"I will never be the same after seeing that show." - Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder
Following sold-out runs in Seattle, Berkeley,
and Washington D.C., Mike Daisey returns to The Public!
$50 TICKETS (regular price $75-$85)
For performances October 11 - 23
1. Call 212-967-7555 between noon and 8pm and mention code iFriend.
2. Follow this link anytime and enter code iFriend:
3. Print out this email and visit The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street. BOX OFFICE HOURS: Sun-Mon 1-6pm, Tue-Sat 1-7:30pm