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Legacy of Steve Jobs is Focus of Theatre Show by Mike Daisey

(Posted January 16, 2012)

Mike Daisey, performer and writer for the one-man- stage play "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," an examination of the price we pay for computers.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The recent death of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs inspired a host of appreciations for the difficult, yet brilliant mind behind the iMac computer, the iPad and the iPhone. Mike Daisey, a celebrated monologist specializing in examining pop culture, is celebrating Steve Jobs in his latest one-man performance piece, "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," but for a different reason.

Daisey's performance, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts, will detail the less publicized and certainly less celebrated labor practices of Apple Inc. by combining three stories. First Daisey will rave about his love affair with Apple products. Second, he will weave in the life story of enigmatic founder Jobs, and, third, he will tell the tale of his visit to Shenzhen, China where he saw Apple products being made.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

Daisey's monologue goes into great detail about the factories and working conditions in China, where Apple computers are made. He details the oppressive working conditions and the startling suicide rate among Chinese tech workers.

"The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" is considered a hybrid of theatre and investigative journalism. Considering that investigative journalism is fading away in a media industry that is eternally downsizing, Daisey may have created a new niche in the arts -- investigative theatre. Daisey researched his show by traveling to China like "a dorky, poorly prepared spy in a Hawaiian shirt."

Mike Daisey's "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" is at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20.

Daisey's performance style is minimalist, as is his stage set. It's just him, a table, chair, a glass of water and some notes. His performances have been compared to another monologist, the late Spaulding Gray.

Daisey began his performing career in Seattle with the show "21 Dog Years," which centered on his short career as a customer service representative for Amazon.com. Since then he has performed shows based on the Monopoly board game, the life of electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla, the role of Walmart in his life and the wealth of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Daisey's show premiered several years ago, well before the death of the charismatic Jobs, but since then his performances have been in demand across the country. Jobs never saw the show, but Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak did and praised its humor and honesty.

Daisey's monologues continue to support his one-man-show theatrical career. In addition to the Jobs piece, he has performed "The Last Cargo Cult," which is a scathing indictment of American consumerism and how Americans view the world through the prism of cash.

Described as a combination of Garrison Keillor and Sam Kinison, Daisey workes off the cuff, although he does use some notes during his performance. There is profanity in his monologues, so the show is not suggested for children.

Daisey's theatrical shows also include, "Great Men of Genius," "21 Dog years," "If You See Something, Say Something" and "All Stories are Fiction." He also has expanded some of his projects into books, such as "Rough Magic," which is a collection of his monologues. He has also made two films based on his work, "Layover," and a filmed version of "If You See Something, Say Something."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.