Monday, April 21, 2008

How Theater Failed America: When Show Business Is Not a Business - New York Times:

Mike Daisey is not an instantly likable performer. He starts his latest monologue, “How Theater Failed America,” at a ranting pitch, a self-described fat guy who in minutes has sweat pouring down his reddened face. But he changes that tone in a flash and becomes so endearingly friendly that there was a moment, deep into his opening-night performance, when the entire room was quietly rapt — not what you would expect at Joe’s Pub, where silverware clangs while waiters circle. It takes a remarkable performer to pull that off.

Mr. Daisey, who tells personal stories in the spare, Spalding Gray style, is best known for “21 Dog Years,” an account of his time laboring in the brick-and-mortar of The title of this new piece, like his angry first impression, is misleading. The show is not a tirade but a gentle remembrance of how Mr. Daisey came to love theater, combined with some very funny stories about his professional misadventures (playing a masturbating bishop in a Seattle production of Genet’s “Balcony” was one), and sardonic rebukes to the corporate types who now hold American theater, especially regional theater, hostage.

4:48 AM