CORRECTION as of 4/24/o7, Please see above for further clarification, and an apology to readers.
LAST NIGHT, Mike Daisey, one of our most renowned monologists on the subjects of amazon.com, the history of Monopoly, Tesla coils, and snowmobiles, found his latest work, INVINCIBLE SUMMER, hijacked by [STRIKE THIS: a group of 87 water-bearing, so-called Christian, anti-monologue terrorists.] REPLACE WITH: ...what is being reported by the Boston Globe as a group of "students and staff" of "Norco High School in Southern California," one of whom poured water over Mike's desk and notes as he performed.
GO HERE to read the chilling story. And I am not being sarcastic when I write...
INVICIBLE SUMMER continues its run at the ART in Cambridge, MA tonight and through the end of april.
IF YOU LIVE IN THE BOSTON AREA, or know someone who does, please go and see him and listen to his words and applaud him.
AND IF BY SOME CHANCE you are not fond of the work, just leave, quietly.
PLEASE DON'T STORM THE STAGE AND DUMP WATER ALL OVER HIS NOTES.
That is, essentially, the contract between performer and audience that most civilized people observe.
THAT IS ALL.
Friday, April 20, 2007
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Although I condemn the actions the 87 people, I almost think we're not getting the whole story here:
1) Who were they really? Who did they represent? How did Mike know them?
2) What is so offensive about the production? I read the blurb and could not think of a reason why a purportedly Christian group would act the way they were.
I'm just curious. That is all.
"act the way they did", I mean.... grr.
Wow! Mike Daisey recently performed at the Yale Rep and nothing unusual happened. Unfortunately I missed his show due to a work conflict.
What a bizzarre occurance. It sounds like the group preplanned their "protest". What do they have against Mike Daisey?
glenn-the house manager would have a head count of the number of audience members at curtain and probably counted the number remaining post incident and subtracted. So 87 is very likely the exact number.
Cheers to Mike for soldiering on!
Mike Daisey here, filling in details.
It was a Christian group on a trip from another part of the country who randomly chose my show, presumably because they somehow thought it would be full of rainbows, unicorns and absolutely no explicatives. That, combined with poor leadership from them and (what appears to be) a number of out-of-control teachers led to the incident.
It doesn't take nearly as much as you might think--that's what surprised me too.
In other matters, though it would be lovely to be gay, and certainly I had an excited and experimental youth, I am in fact married to my director and collaborator, Jean-Michele Gregory.
And yes--we know how many there were from the house counts.
i frequently have to moderate post-show q&as for my job.
and you would be surprised how upset people get even by plays by shakespeare. and he's been dead for 400 years!
for example: we had A LOT of complaints during our production of AS YOU LIKE IT last year. people were disturbed by the implied homosexual content of a girl dressed like a boy flirting with another boy. which, i'm sorry, is pretty ridiculous. it's not like this is a cutting edge new play. the script itself and multiple play synopses are freely available on the internet to peruse before deciding to attend the theater. it's a special sort of backwards to be deeply upset by something that was okay to the public FOUR HUNDRED YEARS AGO IN A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS SOCIETY.
also: people get very angry about directorial/artistic choices that they themselves would not have made. during our production of MERCHANT OF VENICE last year, (a production which, to be fair, did feature large video screens and a man in a head to toe angry cat costume. but it was REALLY good y'all), i had a 50 something man stand up and get red faced and sweaty screaming in my face about how much he HATED the choices. I found this odd, because i was easily a foot shorter and a hundred pounds smaller than the man, and i am just a nice girl who likes her theater, wants to talk shakespeare with the people, and isn't out to hurt anyone.
SO i understand some audience members getting upset about the smallest, seemingly most inconsequential things. HOWEVER an audience storming the stage and throwing water does set a new standard in bizarre audience hostility. v. sad, esp since my friends at the BRT tell me that mr. daisey is a kind, decent, stand up gentleman who puts on a good show.
maybe it's a good thing? the audience is put beyond their comfort zone? i've personally always been jealous of those stories of the Federal Theatre Project plays ending in audience riots. i guess this is similar, but reactionary. so actually kind of the opposite. never mind.
Glenn - I know him. Mike's not gay... (in fact, he's happily married to his lovely producer). He is, however, friendly to the gays he is acquainted with... including yours-truly... now, whether any of that matters, or not, is anybody's guess. Maybe the group wasn't Christianist Homo Haters, maybe they were Big Fans of Paris Hilton who didn't like Big Mike making fun of the poor 'demoiselle. Who knows? Cowards wouldn't even own up to *why* they did what they did. Poor, frightened sheeple.
I know everyone's hearts are in the right places (THEIR CHEST CAVITIES), but I have to confess that I was a little put-off by the semi-skeptical, "what's the REAL story here?" sleuthing and speculation above.
Look, I know that the internet is a fabric woven 90 percent of a high-tensile blend of rumor, gossip, consipracy, and urban legend (the other 10 percent: cotton).
There is an understandable temptation on the web to treat even the most patently true and verifiable story as a puzzle to be solved, or a lie to be debunked. Everyone loves a mystery.
But I wan to reassure you: I am frankly too slow and lazy a blogger to pass along a scurrilous meme to you people. I will only give you the straight dope, in this case reported to me by Mike himself, a guy I know and trust.
And maybe it's because I do know him that I'm a little over-sensitive here. I'm glad he came by to clarify your questions (I had some as well, and I'm happy to know more details), but I feel bad in a way that he felt he had to.
Though it is all a web of lies, the internet is also a place where we can talk to one another like never before. The quickest way to solve a mystery is to go to the source--and Mike is easily available on line.
And in some way I think the lesson of this whole affair should be that if you have doubts or concerns, go ahead and express them: fairly, rationally, face-to-face, or e-mail to e-mail, as it were.
That said, I reiterate that it's perfectly clear that no harm was meant, and I certainly hope you'll all feel free to post here again and say whatever you like.
That is all.
I apologize for attempting to figure out what had happened.
I certainly meant no offense except to those 87 who demonstrated the worst in humanity.
I completely understand.
That is all.
I tip my figurative hat off to Mike Daisey.
And thats all I have to say.
you would be surprised how upset people get even by plays by shakespeare. and he's been dead for 400 years!
Just a side note regarding homoeroticism in Shakespeare: Not only were same sex relationships understood to exist by the people of the Elizabethian era (some of The Sonnets certainly can be interpreted as being homoerotic-- but then again, there was a greater accepted intimacy in even platonic relationships) but since all the actors were men, male actors were always flirting with other male actors on stage. Besides, in As You Like It Rosalinde's male guise is named "Ganymede" who was Zeus' male consort. So the cross-dressing characters added a level of irony-- and could be seen as a meta-theatrical conceit.
I don't think that male actors need flirting advice...
I am so glad you posted a note about this incident. Mike Daisey is amazing! He handled the situation incredibly well. I just watched what happened on youtube and had to email him a message of support. I am appalled by this group. Their actions are much worse than any profanity. I have much respect for Mike Daisey's work and a big fan. I APPLAUD MIKE DAISEY from NY!!!!!!
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