Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Celebration, And Indictment --

"Why did you come?" asks Mike Daisey at the start of his off-Broadway show, "How Theater Failed America," a provocative monologue that skewers and celebrates the not-for-profit theater.

"No, really," he says, seated at a wooden table with nothing but a glass of water and some notes before him. "Why did you come? Why show up to hear a story you already know?"

Perhaps it's because Daisey's funny and fierce tales from the theatrical crypt are being spoken out loud, not by arts insiders over late-night drinks or bitch sessions after rehearsals, but publicly for all to hear.

It's the reason the show is attracting many high-profile theater folks, including James Bundy, artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven and dean of the School of Drama, who last week participated in an after-show "round-table."

A few days later, Daisey performed his show in Denver during the National Performing Arts Convention and followed it up in a talk-back in front of hundreds of not-for-profit theater professionals.

Daisey's show is a cross between the personal storytelling of Spalding Gray and the comic rants of Lewis Back. Over the course of 90 minutes, Daisey exposes some of the dirty little secrets of the nonprofit theater world.

5:05 PM