LA Stage Scene Examiner: A double dose of Daisey:
“How Theater Failed America” is a well tested and well traveled piece in which Daisey takes on - and takes to task - the American regional theater system especially its treatment of actors. “The Last Cargo Cult,” the Tanna piece, is still in workshop form, although with Daisey’s scriptless, evolving thoughts format, it could be suggested that his monologues never stop being works in progress.
Given its chomping-the-hand-that-feeds-you subject matter, “How Theater Failed America” has stirred up a bit of controversy. Daisey maintains that any actor who isn’t already embedded in the regional theater system could not express some of the things he’s saying publicly without risking career suicide.
Daisey a self described “independent contractor“ - doesn‘t have that problem.
“There’s a lot of repression. We don’t talk about what the landscape is like,” he said. “I kept thinking about these issues. The more I learned, the more I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I had to find a way to talk about them in way that was not didactic by weaving my own story about moving through the American theater, and my assessment of the shape of things today.”
“We want to make a performance a hospitable friendly welcoming space,” he continued. “It gets unpleasant for people if they paid $75 to actually become vividly aware of how much an Equity actor is making in a production. Audiences like to passively believe that people are paid a living wage. It makes them feel better.”