Theater Review: 'All the Faces of the Moon' -- 2.5 stars
All the Faces of the Moon
Well, this is awkward.
Monologist Mike Daisey, who just two seasons ago was forced to admit that he had fabricated significant portions of his acclaimed journalism-style solo play “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” and endured nothing short of a public shaming, has returned to the Public Theater with an elaborate new show.
But unlike his most well-known pieces, which have connected Daisey’s lighthearted observations and memories with explorations of specific political and cultural issues such as the Department of Homeland Security and Occupy Wall Street, his new one is more notable for its size.
Titled “All the Faces of the Moon” and described as a “live theatrical novel,” the project consists of 29 different monologues over the course of a lunar month intended to celebrate various facets of life in New York. Each monologue can be downloaded for free after it is performed live.
As is always the case, Daisey, who now sports a beard, performs while sitting at a table and holding what appear to be handwritten notes rather than a script. To break the monotony, he will often make facial expressions, raise the pitch of his voice or poke fun at his weight.
Daisey’s unpredictable harangues and engaging personal anecdotes continue to entertain. In the first few monologues, he has attacked an interview with Mayor Bloomberg printed in New York Magazine, revealed his obsession with Dungeons & Dragons as a teenager and confessed that he wanted to kill himself after the “Steve Jobs” fallout.
But at this point in the project, his attempt to connect all this to long-winded, multicharacter storytelling feels strained, especially since the stories end with cliffhangers instead of resolution from night to night. For his next production, Daisey would be better off to present a tightly knit piece instead of a marathon of forgettable ones.