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Mike Daisey Interviews...

Posted by Geoff Edgers  April 23, 2007 07:15 PM

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A couple more items from the Mike Daisey incident. First, a brief e-mail interview I did with him.

Where was the group from?

The group is from Norco High School, and they are a Christian chorale group--while in the lobby and theater they called themselves a Christian group repeatedly, despite being from a public high school. I'm not certain why they represent themselves that way, except that I believe the division between church and state is not terribly strong in Norco.

What exactly did the guy pour water on?

My outline and notes, which are handwritten, and which I use to shape the performances.

What impact will that have on the performance?

I am working from a photocopy now, and it will have a big impact after the current run, when it becomes time to continue amending the notes--I will probably, when time permits, have to rebuild a new outline and begin the process again. It's hard, but over time I'll get the new outline together.

Has anything like that ever happened to you before?

I do a show about L. Ron Hubbard, and have had very angry Scientologists in the audience, though they were less cowardly about engaging with me and didn't destroy my work. Due to the nature of the monologues they do sometimes stir strong responses from audiences.

Now an item that will appear in Tuesday's Globe.

Celebrated storyteller Mike Daisey had barely begun his 90-minute monologue at the American Repertory Theatre when much of the audience suddenly stood up and walked out. One of the put-upon patrons even picked up a glass of water used as an on-stage prop and poured it over Daisey’s papers. The problem? The posse, 87 students and staff visiting Thursday from Norco High School in Southern California, objected to Daisey’s dirty language. (They left during a particularly profane riff about Paris Hilton.) Daisey, who’s posted the episode on YouTube, invited the aggrieved audience members to talk to him, but they bolted. ‘‘None of you have the guts to stay here and talk to me,’’ said Daisey. ‘‘Saying (expletive) is the least racy thing I do, so I’m a little flabbergasted.’’ Daisey’s handwritten outline — he doesn’t work from a script — was soaked, but salvageable. ‘‘If a patron in an art museum objected to a painting and slashed it, we’d be clear that that’s a criminal act,’’ the ART’s artistic director Gideon Lester fumed yesterday. Seems the school group did inquire about the content of the show, called ‘‘Invincible Summer,’’ and was told it includes profanity and adult subject matter. They decided to buy tickets anyway. Daisey has since talked to Cindy Lee, Norco’s activities director, and received a halfhearted apology. ‘‘They keep saying it was a ‘security issue’ ... They had to get their children out because of these words,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s ludicrous.’’ The show runs through Sunday.

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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