Witty and entertaining
Humour was the forte of ‘The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs' performed by renowned monologist Mike Daisey. It started with the description of his first visit to India and his obsession with the “i-world”. It was witty, clever and entertaining.
The concept and the dark humour associated with it made the show a delightful experience for all.
Into the i-world
The monologue began in a very clichéd “I'm a foreigner in India…there are cows on the street…my Facebook page takes six years to open” way but once it got over that, the story progressed well. Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs' brilliant marketing strategies were laughed upon while admitting they were genius. Mike Daisey described his travel to China and his rendezvous with the employees at the factories that manufacture the Apple phones! On the whole, it was a potpourri of emotions.
Minimalistic setting, maximum impact. The audience was in splits, drawn in and riveted to Mike Daisey's simplistic, straight-forward talk. Most of us in the audience will never look at our gadgets and our ways of life as we did, before he spoke.
Ram Kumar Ramaswamy
Breaking the ‘i' illusion
Mike's powerhouse presentation was packed with sarcastic wit and had adequate content backed by abundant trivia and graphic detail (slightly overloaded towards the latter half) delivered with excellent modulation, expression and gesticulation. He made an immediate impact with his rip-roaring take on India and its unique facets and sharp contrasts to his own puritan America. Next, he launched into an almost pornographic description of the ‘i' obsession which had the audience in splits but also stripped bare the seductive illusion of ‘upgrade'. And then came the body blow to the myth that technology promotes happiness, by his disturbing and detailed portrayal of inhuman working conditions and forced underpaid labour combined with the complicity of the corporates in this process. But is Steve Jobs in any agony?
The irony of Mike Daisey's ‘monologue' was that though the genre of his performance fitted that label, the essence of it hardly did. Along with his director Jean Michelle Gregory, he literally brought to the table (Mike performs on-stage seated at a table with a glass of water and his notes) issues that should bother any free-thinking person. Taking the role of a spokesman of the people of the world, his seamless narrative, interspersed with laughter and clapping, questioned our addiction to technology, and our constant need to upgrade it. Mike took digs at Apple CEO Steve Jobs for his obsession with design. He described his visit as a businessman to a factory in Shenzhen in China where workers were being treated inhumanly. Can we take a leaf out of Mike's book and speak up for ourselves?
T.K. Srinivas Chari