Portland Mercury | Blogs | TBA | The Electric Mike Daisey in Monopoly:
One gets the feeling Daisey could sit there and talk about any topic you gave him (cat litter, broomsticks, plastic forks) and be entertaining; but Monopoly is also the work of a true writer, an inspiring and compassionate activist, and a relentlessly curious historian. Daisey finds the theme of "monopoly" in corners of life you'd never expect, and thus are surprised, delighted, and sometimes shocked to be informed of. His monologue explores the history of the game of Monopoly itself, the tight-fisted control its distributor Parker Brothers had on the board game market, the exploitation they inflicted on its original creator (an entirely innocent Quaker woman who simply wanted a fun way to educate children about capitalism), and the lies they have printed on the box ever since. It explores the sad and amazing life of Nikola Tesla, a visionary inventor whose ideas met with a lifetime of resistance from the corrupt monopolizer Thomas Edison, who didn't want anyone moving in on his electricity shit. And it explores Daisey's own encounters with monopolies, his awed chagrin at the takeover of his small Maine hometown by Wal-Mart, and his early experience acting with Bill Gates in an industrial video for Microsoft. Each individual story thread is fascinating in its own right and could be served by an entire monologue by itself. Daisey's feat of weaving them together creates, as was the plan, I'm sure, a whole much greater than the sum of its parts. A rich tapestry of historical research, personal memoir, and social commentary that creates the illusion of past and present, of timelessness.