Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hello Internet,

Mike Daisey here. I’m a monologist, and I do new shows every month at the Public Theater’s Joe’s Pub. Two weeks ago we announced and put on sale a show titled YES ALL WOMEN, in which I planned to talk about how our world is built on the subjugation and ownership of women, and how men perpetuate that violence.

I was always aware that it’s a provocative title—I get that. I want it to be provocative, because I want to get under people’s skins. My work has often functioned that way, and I wanted to try and be a man taking responsibility for my own complicity in the way things are. I was leery of the title, but you learn in theater to be even more leery of silence and having the world ignore your work. So I pulled the trigger.

Three hours ago Twitter blew up about the show. People were outraged and furious, and as I read their responses I saw that some people were genuinely hurt. And that felt terrible—I had thought that since I never used the actual hashtag, I would be commenting on and exploring the space opened up by #yesallwomen, but I never wanted people to feel their voices were being co-opted and silenced.

It’s a straightforward irony: I’m a man, who monologues, speaking. It was a charged gamble. I should have realized that often people judge me for what they know of my work, and I am sorry for anyone who felt hurt or betrayed. I’m especially sorry for anyone who felt like this was belittling #yesallwomen, which I think is a fantastic and necessary hashtag and conversation.

So, effective immediately, I’m changing the name of the show from YES ALL WOMEN to YES THIS MAN.

I’ve chosen to call the show YES THIS MAN not just because it better reflects what I aim to discuss in the monologue, but also because it is simply a better title. I engaged with many people on Twitter throughout this, and someone who was upset with me was kind enough to suggest it. The truth is that it was always a better title, and I would have used it from the start had I been clever enough to think of it.

I’ve learned in my life that it’s a process of revision—the past few years have been all about that for me, and I’m grateful. I hope that people take this change in the spirit that it’s intended: of openness, transparency, and with the belief that everyone has stories to tell.