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Monday, April 23, 2007
The watering of Mike Daisey
Earlier this month, Globe theater critic Louise Kennedy reviewed Mike Daisey's comical-philosophical monologue "Invincible Summer," now playing (till April 29) at the Carr Human Rights Foundation-supported Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge. She loved Daisey, but was disappointed in the crowd: "the empty seats were only slightly less responsive than the full ones," she wrote, and: "Here's hoping [Daisey's other shows] get the wide-awake audiences they deserve."
Well, Daisey finally did get a responsive audience. As a number of my favorite bloggers -- including Jason Grote at Confessions of an English Jason Grote Eater, John Hodgman at Good Evening, Annalee Newitz at Table of Malcontents, Edward Champion at Return of the Reluctant -- reported over the weekend, on Thursday night Daisey's performance was interrupted when a large portion of the audience (87 people) suddenly walked out. According to theater management, or so I've heard, it was a group of (Christian) choir students and their parents and teachers. But let's let Daisey tell the story:
I am performing the show to a packed house, when suddenly the lights start coming up in the house as a flood of people start walking down the aisles -- they looked like a flock of birds who'd been startled, the way they all moved so quickly, and at the same moment... it was shocking, to see them surging down the aisles. The show halted as they fled, and at this moment a member of their group strode up to the table, stood looking down on me and poured water all over the outline, drenching everything in a kind of anti-baptism.
Here's a video of the water-pouring episode:
Newitz characterized l'affaire Daisey as "possibly the only recorded example of a Christian flash mob prank." Champion raged: "The faceless cowards who did this are no better than the ghouls who burned the Great Library of Alexandria." But Hodgman found a silver lining in the cloud: "It is inspiring to me, both as a performer and a human, to see the humor and the grace with which Mike reassures those members of his audience who did not choose to pour water on his notes and regain control of himself and the moment."
PS: I liked Daisey's "21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com," a memoir of his stint as a footsoldier in the New Economy. I served in a different unit in the same war, and Daisey does a great job of explaining how lame it was.
PPS: Bostonist interviewed Daisey on April 6, check it out.
UPDATE: Whoops! Shoulda guessed that Geoff Edgers, tireless Globe arts reporter, and another of my favorite bloggers, would have also mentioned the watering of Mike Daisey.