Friday, April 6, 2012

Revise, Revive, Recycle: A Season in Theater, So Far | The House Next Door

Revise, Revive, Recycle: A Season in Theater, So Far | The Hotse Next Door:

Monologuist Mike Daisey's been brought low by bothersome things called facts, but his The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs featured one untarnishable sequence. Daisey described accurately the use of 430,000 workers at Foxconn, the Chinese factory where Apple products are made. "That can be a difficult number to conceptualize. Instead think about how there are twenty-five cafeterias at the plant. Now you just need to visualize a cafeteria that seats thousands and thousands of people. I'll wait."

Daisey's righteous condescension has its prickly pleasures. Sensing many, like me, had figured they'd gotten the point without bothering to visualize, he prodded, "You can do it. Try visualizing a cafeteria from your youth. Really, I'll wait." And again, sensing slackers, he reprimanded us, like daddy in the driver's seat, with "I will turn this show around." Duly warned, I got the picture in my head. "Okay. Now. What I want you to do now is push the walls outward…over and over and over until it holds thousands of people. Now, imagine 25 rooms, all that size, all next to each other."

The communal realization was a rare rush. I fear moments like this will now be even harder to come by. Leaping to a new idea requires trust. I hope the price of Daisey's theatrical fabrications is just the hiring of fact-checkers and, one can hope, a reality check on his own ego.