The Lab alum Mike Daisey (2007/2008 season) returns to The Public Theater with his biggest project to date. Patrick Healy writes a wonderful feature about this audacious epic in The New York Times. Daisey’s project recalls – to some degree – Soho Rep’s co-production with The Public last season of NATURE THEATRE OF OKLAHOMA’s LIFE & TIMES. Purchase tickets to ALL THE FACES OF THE MOON here.
A Take on the City Will Take Some Time
By PATRICK HEALY
From: The New York Times
August 14, 2013
Downtown scenesters, take note: Have you ever wanted to test yourself with a show that gives new meaning to the phrase “endurance theater”?
No, not a play that lasts longer than three hours — itself an endangered species nowadays.
Try a monologue series that unfolds over 29 consecutive nights.
Or, to put it precisely, 44 hours of theater.
But wait, there’s more!
If you attend all 44 hours, you even get a dinner when it’s all over with the performer himself, the celebrated and controversial monologuist Mike Daisey!
That is, Mr. Daisey said on Wednesday, if you still want to spend time with him.
“It’s fair to wonder if people can take only so much of one theater artist,” he added with a laugh.
Mr. Daisey, whose past topics have ranged from the cold war and homeland security to Brecht, is best known for “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” his monologue about the exploitation of Chinese workers making Apple gizmos.
While that show generated controversy because Mr. Daisey exaggerated and fabricated some descriptions about the laborers, his new work, “All the Faces of the Moon,” involves tall tales of a benign sort.
“All the Faces” aims to tell “the secret history of New York,” Mr. Daisey said, drawing on urban legends as well as on influential figures like the city planner Robert Moses and the inventor Nikola Tesla.
Comparing his show to the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” Mr. Daisey said his monologues would focus on “telling stories of large mythic visions, in this case about New York City.”
The 29 performances, featuring a different monologue each night at 7 at the Public Theater, will align with the 29-day cycle of a lunar month, running Sept. 5 through Oct. 3.
“I’m fascinated by time frames that aren’t built by hyper-scheduled humans, like the 29 nights of a lunar cycle or the 24 hours in a day,” Mr. Daisey said.
In 2011, for instance, he performed a monologue in Portland, Ore., that lasted 24 hours and wove together stories across the time zones.
“There was something very compelling to me pushing myself on a such a huge scale, so I wanted to try it again,” he said.
Marathon-style theater can be a shock to the system in fast-paced New York, but the 12-hour production of “The Demons,” on Governors Island in 2010, and the nine-hour “Orphans’ Home Cycle”are still recalled fondly by some audience members.
While those productions involved multiple characters, Mr. Daisey will be alone onstage at Joe’s Pub, though with one key prop: an oil painting, different each evening, which reflects the content of the monologue.
The paintings, by the Russian artist Larissa Tokmakova, are tied to the archetypal cards from the tarot deck, like Justice and the High Priestess.
The titles of Mr. Daisey’s monologues, like “The Fool Who Walks Through Walls” and “Saturn Is a Father Devouring His Children,” connect to the tarot, too.
“The monologues aren’t all about tarot,” Mr. Daisey emphasized, “but rather about the concepts and legends that come into storytelling.”
Some characters will come, go, and return over the course of the monologues, but Mr. Daisey intends each performance to be a self-contained work that audiences can understand without seeing the other 28.
Tickets are $26.50 per night at the 187-seat space, though completists on a budget can listen to each monologue free, via podcast, the following day.
Mr. Daisey said he could not predict how many people would shell out hundreds of dollars to attend all 29 monologues.
But he is offering some gifts if they do.
Those who attend three shows will receive a poster featuring images of all of Ms. Tokmakova’s paintings.
Those who go to 15 shows will get the poster, as well as a coffee table book about the series, which will include research notes and commentary by Mr. Daisey and his director, Jean-Michele Gregory, who is also his wife.
Mr. Daisey said that neither the gifts nor the monologues, nor the dinner for theatergoers who attend all 29 nights, were gimmicks aimed at drawing attention to the show.
They simply reflect a certain style, he said — not unlike the 29 one-sentence paragraphs in this article.