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October 18, 2011

The No. 1 Reason To See: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

by Jesse North

mike daisy agony ecstasy steve jobs public theater posterOne of the most important questions to ask in our modern-day world is: Where does it come from? This question could refer to the food we’re eating, the clothes we’re wearing, and in the case of writer/performer Mike Daisey’s newest work—the gadgets we’re using. In The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, playing at the Public Theater, Daisy examines the frenzied obsession with Apple products, how the company controls those items, and the moral dilemmas of how they’re manufactured.

The No. 1 Reason To See The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: Timeliness
Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, died on October 5—less than one week before The Agony and the Ecstasy was scheduled to begin previews at the Public. The show had been scheduled in the Public’s season for months. This uncanny coincidence turned what otherwise would have been an excellent show into the must-see theatrical event of the fall season. Most plays that reflect or comment on current events, understandably, aren’t in performing shape until at least a year after the occurrence. However, since Daisey had The Agony and the Ecstasy already in the can, only a few sentences needed to be added in order to make it a thrilling work that comments on headlines in which the ink isn’t even yet dry. What’s fantastic about The Agony and the Ecstasy at the Public is that this unique experience lives in this moment and won’t last long. The Apple corporation and its products will be relevant, of course, for the foreseeable future. However, the chance to be a part of a discussion this fresh fades with each passing day. Daisey’s thorough research and insight into the company, paired with his superb oratory skills, made me feel as if I was pulled into the headlines, existing between the lines of the articles I had been reading about Jobs and his legacy. The timing of The Agony and the Ecstasy makes it the latest and greatest of theatrical experiences. Kind of like an Apple product.

mike daisey daisy agony ecstasy steve jobs public theater

Photo: Kevin Berne

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