Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quality helps theater drive social change - Colin Dabkowski - The Buffalo News:

With the help of other articles written about Apple during the past month and a half, Daisey’s stunning performance on “This American Life” set off a firestorm of complaints that has yet to relent. Last week, activists presented a petition with 250,000 signatures to one of the company’s New York City stores demanding Apple improve the labor practices of its suppliers.

This week, in its latest agitated response to mounting public concern, Apple announced a new investigation into its largest supplier, Foxconn, at least suggesting it is taking serious action.

“The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” should give pause to anyone who claims that live theater is no longer powerful or relevant enough to create direct and measurable social or political change. Granted, theater directed at social change does not always create the buzz Daisey’s play has — mostly because a great deal of such theater tends toward bland polemics and lacks the chops of Daisey’s delivery and the crackle of his writing.

Daisey’s powerful piece gives a lesson about the importance of quality for those who would dare to employ theater as a tool for social change.