If the golden age masters of stand-up comedy had a one-night stand with the irreverent liberal pundits of today, their love child might have been monologist Mike Daisey. Victory Gardens Fresh Squeezed is delighted to host Daisey in his raucous return to the city for two consecutive Chicago premieres: How Theater Failed America and The Last Cargo Cult.
Hailed by the New York Times as a "master storyteller...one of the finest solo performers of his generation," Daisey humorously beats sense into the bumbling pace of post-modern America with wit woven tighter than Betsy Ross's Stars and Bars. Daisey boils down society with the charm of everyone's favorite dinner guest and professes that the heart of his humor lies in "faith, love, honor, loyalty, friendship--the best human beings have to offer, still blossoming and blooming against the grain. It is a very interesting time to be alive."
In How Theater Failed America, Daisey sinks his razor-sharp wit into a subject he knows well: the American theater, from the sublimely crass to the genuinely ugly. From gorgeous new theaters standing empty as cathedrals, to "successful" working actors traveling like migrant farmhands, to an arts culture unwilling to speak or listen to its own nation, Daisey takes stock of the dystopian state of theater in America: a shrinking world with smaller audiences every year. Fearlessly implicating himself and the system he works within, Daisey seeks answers to essential and dangerous questions about the art we're making, the legacy we leave the future, and who it is we believe we're speaking to.
Performances: Monday, April 26 at 7:30 pm; Wednesday, April 28 at 7:30pm; Thursday, April 29 at 8 pm; Friday, April 30 at 8 pm; Saturday, May 1 at 8 pm; and Sunday, May 2 at 7 pm.
With the Chicago premiere of his latest work, The Last Cargo Cult, Daisey divulges the true-life story of his time on a remote South Pacific island whose inhabitants worship America at the base of a constantly erupting volcano. Their religion is explored alongside our own to form a sharp and searing examination of the international financial crisis. Daisey wrestles with the largest questions of what the collapse means, and what it says about our deepest values. Part adventure story and part memoir, he uses each culture to illuminate the other to find, between the seemingly primitive and the achingly modern, a human answer.
Performances: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm; Thursday, May 6 at 8 pm; Friday, May 7 at 8 pm; Saturday, May 8 at 8 pm; and Sunday, May 9 at 3 pm and 7 pm.
Visit the Mike Daisey's How Theater Failed America and The Last Cargo Cult website: