Theater Review: 'The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs' -- 3 stars
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs
Be forewarned that “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” the latest solo piece by storyteller and monologist Mike Daisey, will change the way you look at and think about your iPod, iPad, iPhone, MacBook and other electronic appliances.
Daisey freely admits to being a hardcore technology geek. He loves to buy it, open it, read about it, smell it and even take his laptop apart just for the fun of it. (But that doesn’t stop him from going on a five-minute rant on the pointlessness of PowerPoint presentations.)
For two hours, Daisey describes Steve Jobs’ complicated history at Apple. At the same time, he narrates his experience traveling to Shenzhen, China, and visiting Foxconn, where more than half of the world’s electronics are made, and witnessing the awful work conditions.
He goes so far as to compare the factory workers, many of whom are children, to serfs tied to the land. While he was there, one person died after doing a 34-hour shift, and countless others committed suicide by jumping off the building.
Daisey addresses Jobs’ recent death just once, but it certainly adds a chilling factor to the engrossing monologue.
He describes Jobs as a creative genius, extreme micromanager and showman not unlike P.T. Barnum. Ultimately, he blames Jobs for not having the courage to call attention to the work conditions at Foxconn and other factories.
As in his previous shows, Daisey speaks while using handwritten notes and sitting at a desk, although he is backed by LED panels lit up in varying patterns.
Daisey attacks his subject with extemporaneous spontaneity, exaggerated personality, sarcastic humor and zealous passion — so much so that he often screams at the top of his lungs and must wipe the sweat off his face.
If you go: “The Agony and dthe Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” plays at the Public Theater through Nov. 13. 425 Lafayette St., 212-967-7555, publictheater.org.