Saturday, April 19, 2008

In ‘How Theater Failed America,’ Mike Daisey Takes a Harsh Look at His Own Business - New York Times:

THE show inspired a fevered debate online as well as angry e-mail and conversations across the country among the major players of the American regional theater. And that was before most people had seen it.

After a dozen years of performing one-man shows about subjects including the Internet boom (“21 Dog Years”) and the reaction to 9/11 (“The Invincible Summer”) Mike Daisey wanted to proclaim in public what he says actors have been complaining about in bars for years: that the American regional theater is in serious trouble. He puts it more bluntly in the title: “How Theater Failed America.”

In his latest show, at Joe’s Pub every Monday night through May 11, Mr. Daisey makes a series of provocative arguments about how regional theaters, in pursuit of growth, have lost sight of their original mission: They have put more money into expensive new buildings than grooming and rewarding actors; despite lip service about promoting diversity and community, artistic directors want to keep theater as a luxury item for the wealthy; the importing of actors, mainly from New York, has divorced theaters from their communities.

12:26 PM