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Art&Seek on Think TV: Monologist Mike Daisey

by Jerome Weeks 8 Mar 2010 2:25 PM

Addison’s Out of the Loop Festival presents comic monologist Mike Daisey tonight in perhaps his best-known stage show: How Theater Failed America. It’s Daisey’s rebuke to the corporatized state of the stage. After the show, he’ll be joined in a panel discussion by a group of area directors and actors — and KERA’s Jerome Weeks.


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Monologist Mike Daisey has picked up the sit-down mantle from the late Spalding Gray. It’s not just the desk and the solo talk, it’s the way he interweaves comedy and his personal life into topical stories and social commentary. His account of his brief career with, 21 Dog Years, ran off-Broadway for six months and got Daisey on the chair chatting with David Letterman.

But Daisey is perhaps best known in theater circles — perhaps ‘infamous’ is more accurate — for his controversial show, How Theater Failed America. Water Tower Theatre’s Out of the Loop Festival is currently presenting Daisey in five different shows: four of his “Great Men of Genius” monologues (P. T. Barnum. Bertolt Brecht, Nikola Tesla and L. Ron Hubbard), only the second time the entire cycle has been done — plus on Monday,  How Theater Failed America.

Immediately following Monday’s performance, Daisey will moderate a panel of local theater figures — Water Tower artistic director Terry Martin, Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty, actress Denise Lee and myself — to discuss the topics he raises in Failed, in particular the way the resident theater movement is now set up, in Daisey’s view, to keep management employed in handsome buildings at the expense of all the other artists involved.