|Born||1976 (age 38–39)|
|Occupation||Monologist, author, actor|
Mike Daisey (born 1976) is an American monologist, author, and actor best known for his monologue "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" about the life of Steve Jobs, the general enchantment with technology, and the story of how those devices are made in China. Daisey received international media opprobrium in March 2012 when it was revealed that he had fabricated details of his experience in this monologue.
Daisey's early work includes Wasting Your Breath (1997), a monologue of the Great American Roadtrip, and I Miss the Cold War (1998), about Daisey's visit to post-Communist Warsaw and Cold War themes.
His 2001 monologue 21 Dog Years was Daisey's break. In 2002, Daisey published a book version of the tale under the same title, and in 2004 the BBC aired his radio adaptation of his monologue on Radio 4.
Daisey performed several non-traditional monologues during the 2000s. For All Stories Are Fiction (2004), Daisey made no notes of any kind until one hour before the performance, and then created a show extemporaneously onstage. Similarly, in Mysteries of the Unexplained (2009), he performed a series of one-night-only performances, about Facebook, bacon, and the Boardwalk. Daisey presented his 24-hour monologue All the Hours in the Day (2011) at Portland's TBA Festival in September 2011, emphasizing themes of loss, transformation, and the desire for authenticity.
Invincible Summer (2007) is about the history of the New York City transit system, loss, and democracy in modern day America.
The April 19, 2007 performance of Invincible Summer at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was disrupted when over 80 audience members from a public high school in Norco, California, left the production mid-performance, with one audience member approaching the stage and pouring water over Daisey's outline notes. Daisey said that the destroyed papers were the original copy of the show's outline, and described the effect of the walk-out as "shocking": "The show halted as they fled, and at this moment a member of their group strode up to the table, stood looking down on me and poured water all over the outline, drenching everything in a kind of anti-baptism."
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (2010) examines globalization by exploring the exploitation of Chinese workers through the lens of what Daisey describes as "the rise and fall and rise of Apple, industrial design, and the human price we are willing to pay for our technology, woven together in a complex narrative."
In January 2012, portions of the monologue were aired on the radio program This American Life. The episode, titled "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory" quickly became the most downloaded episode in the show's history, with 888,000 downloads. Two months later, This American Life officially retracted the episode, having discovered that some of the claims made by Daisey had been exaggerated or fabricated. A follow up episode, entitled "Retraction", stood by the veracity of the claims Daisey had made about working conditions at Foxconn, but claimed Daisey had made up many of his professed first-hand details of his own experiences visiting China. Among other things, Daisey was justly accused of exaggerating the number of plants he visited and people he talked to, of claiming that the plant guards had guns, of exaggerating the number of underaged workers he talked to, and of falsely describing a worker with a crippled hand using an iPad for the first time as a Foxconn employee. This American Life also accused Daisey of purposefully misleading them by trying to prevent them from contacting the translator he used in order to fact check his story. In an interview with host Ira Glass, Daisey admitted to giving the producers of This American Life a false name for the translator and also admitted that he lied about her contact information being changed.
Since the controversy, Daisey has reformed his work and has continued to perform it, removing the five minutes of deceitful details and standing by his assertions that the conditions in Apple's supply chain violate China's own labor laws and remain inhumane. He has performed this new version, dubbed "Version 2.0", in six cities, including a run at Washington DC's Woolly Mammoth Theater, where Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak joined the show for a post-performance discussion on August 4, 2012.
Daisey offers a complete, open-source, royalty-free transcript of The Agony, which has been downloaded over 130,000 times. The work has had more than 40 productions, and it has been translated into six languages.
Performed at the Spoleto Festival, ArtsEmerson, the Cape Cod Theatre Project, and Woolly Mammoth Theater, The Orient Express (Or, the Value of Failure) (2012) is Daisey's story of the aftermath of the aftermath of his media scandal, and a trip he took to recreate the Orient Express, traveling from Paris to Istanbul.
American Utopias (2012) is Daisey's monologue about the way that physical spaces influence people's shared goals, using modern American utopian models including Disney World, the Burning Man Festival, and Zuccotti Park and the birth of the Occupy movement.
"Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand" (2013) tackles Ayn Rand, the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and the creator of the objectivist movement. It is regarded as one of Daisey's most scorching, satirical works.
Theatre and film
Daisey's first play The Moon Is a Dead World premiered at the Annex Theatre in Seattle, Washington on October 17, 2008. It was previously developed at Soho Rep as a part of their 2008–2009 Writer/Director Lab Readings in a workshop directed by Maria Goyanes.
Layover, Daisey's first film, was screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. He also stars in the feature film Horrible Child with T. Ryder Smith, in an adaptation of Lawrence Krauser's play.
Zinoman further expands on a common theme in which Daisey experiences "a mania in which he loses himself", in 21 Dog Years and Invincible Summer.
Theater itself appears in Daisey's work, in both The Ugly American (2003), about Daisey's life as a 19-year old drama student in London, and How Theater Failed America (2008), a monologue critical of how modern theater has lost sight of its original mission.
Critical analysis of powerful men and institutions often feature in his work. Monopoly! (2005) is critical of capitalism and details the rivalry between Edison and Tesla, while Great Men of Genius (2006) profiled Bertolt Brecht, showman P.T. Barnum, scientist Nikola Tesla and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. If You See Something Say Something (2008), critical of the Department of Homeland Security, compares it to the days of tense alert during the Cold War.
Jason Zinoman said about Daisey's work in the New York Times: "The master storyteller...one of the finest solo performers of his generation. What distinguishes him from most solo performers is how elegantly he blends personal stories, historical digressions and philosophical ruminations. He has the curiosity of a highly literate dilettante and a preoccupation with alternative histories, secrets large and small, and the fuzzy line where truth and fiction blur. Mr. Daisey's greatest subject is himself." Louise Kennedy described his monologues in the Boston Globe as "Sharp-witted, passionately delivered talk about matters both small and huge, at once utterly individual and achingly universal." Heidi Weiss in the Chicago Sun-Times has said, "Enthralling...why be a journalist when you can spin stories like these?"
While remaining optimistic about Daisey's ability to recover from the Agony scandal, Jason Zinoman, writing at Salon.com, criticized Daisey's ethics and his "defiant" insistence that the invented material was "dramatic license" rather than a lie.
Mike Daisey was born in Fort Kent, Maine and moved to the greater Bangor area in his childhood. Daisey attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Daisey is married to his director and collaborator, Jean-Michele Gregory; they reside in New York City.
- 1997 Wasting Your Breath
- 1998 I Miss the Cold War
- 2001 21 Dog Years
- 2003 The Ugly American
- 2004 All Stories Are Fiction
- 2005 Monopoly!
- 2006 Great Men of Genius
- 2007 Tongues Will Wag
- 2007 Invincible Summer
- 2008 How Theater Failed America
- 2008 If You See Something Say Something
- 2009 Mysteries of the Unexplained
- 2009 The Last Cargo Cult
- 2010 Barring the Unforeseen
- 2010 The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs
- 2011 All the Hours in the Day
- 2012 The Orient Express (Or, the Value of Failure)
- 2012 American Utopias
- 2012 Where Water Meets With Water
- 2013 Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand
- 2013 Journalism
- 2013 All the Faces of the Moon
- 2014 The Story of the Gun
- 2014 Dreaming of Rob Ford
- 2014 Yes This Man
- 2014 The Great Tragedies
- 2008 The Moon Is a Dead World
- Mike Daisey. 21 Dog Years. ISBN 0-7432-2580-5.
- 2010 Layover
- Mike Daisey, Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004.
- Mark Gimein, "Mike Daisey's Apple Explanation Is ... Awkward", Bloomberg Business Week, March 16, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- David Ng, "Mike Daisey, the theater artist behind the controversy", Los Angeles Times, March 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- Page about the ebook, Simon & Schuster. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Why aging trendies never feel nostalgic for Madonna", Scotsman, June 23, 2004. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Mike Daisey, Monologuist", Gothamist, April 22, 2005. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Mike Daisey Presents Mysteries of the Unexplained: Facebook!", Joe's Pub. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Mike Daisey Brings Mysteries of the Unexplained: Bacon to Joes Pub 6/8", Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Mike Daisey Brings Mysteries of the Unexplained: The Boardwalk! to Joes Pub 7/6", Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "TBA Diary: Mike Daisey's All the Hours in the Day". Wweek.com. September 19, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Jennifer DeMeritt, "Mike Daisey’s life before wartime", The Villager, Volume 76, Number 35, January 24–30, 2007. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- Daisey's Summer Interrupted as Audience Departs and Defiles His Work, Playbill, April 22, 2007
- Mike Daisey Audience Protest, Walkout and Attack, Youtube, April 21, 2007
- "Theater Offensive?". The Phoenix. April 27, 2007.
- "Mike Daisey follow-up".
- "One-man show to depict Steve Jobs' career". CNET. March 4, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory". This American Life. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- "Retracting "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory"". This American Life. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- "Retraction". This American Life. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Mike Daisey (October 5, 2012). "Mike Daisey Remembers Steve Jobs a Year After His Death". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- "Theater Talkback: ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,’ Take 2". New York Times. July 26, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- "Mike Daisey, Unreliable Narrator". Washington City Paper. July 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- "http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/Spoletobuzz/archives/2012/06/07/mike-daisey-and-the-reorient-express". Charlestoncitypaper.com. June 7, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- http://thesunbreak.com/2013/05/10/mike-daisey-are-you-trying-to-seduce-me-ayn-rand/. Missing or empty
- The Moon Is A Dead World, Annex Theatre
- "Daisey's The Moon Is a Dead World Featured in Soho Rep Readings". Playbill.com. March 31, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Page of additional resources, Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "HORRIBLE CHILD Trailer". YouTube. January 12, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- "Info Sheet". Horriblechild.com. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Zinoman, Jason (January 21, 2007). "The Need To Think Onstage Is Driving Mr. Daisey". New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.. Also here  (jpeg) at Daisey's site.
- Adcock, Joe. "Daisey feeds off experiences abroad in 'Ugly American'". Seattle PI. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Zinoman, Jason. "Stirring Things Up, Regionally Speaking". New York Times. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Adcock, Joe. "'Monopoly!' rips into capitalism". Seattle PI. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Truzzi, Gianni. "Mike Daisey turns a wry eye on Brecht, Barnum and other 'greats'". Seattle PI. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Isherwood, Charles. "Examining the Echoes of Doctor Neutron". New York Times. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Kennedy, Louise (April 10, 2007). "Stop and Pick This Daisey". Boston Globe.
- "1 man, 3 places – Daisey punctuates enthralling 'Utopias' with theatrical flourish – Chicago Sun-Times". Suntimes.com. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Zinoman, Jason. "A Sad Story: Mike Daisey didn’t just break the rules of journalism. He did a disservice to his own art.". Slate.com. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- The Frog in the Pot and the Leaves on the Trees - retrieved November 4, 2013 | https://soundcloud.com/mikedaisey/the-frog-in-the-pot-and-the
- Mike Daisey's (invitation only) blog
- Mike Daisey at the Internet Movie Database
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Daisey, April 24, 2011