New York’s Public Theater Supports Mike Daisey, Steve Jobs Show To Continue [Exclusive]



Earlier today it was revealed that some elements of Mike Daisey’s show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, appear to have been fabricated. As a result, This American Life has retracted the episode that used Daisey’s work as the basis for their show, leaving many to wonder if Daisey’s remaining theater performances will be cancelled.

We received statements from both the New York Public Theater and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company that explain their support for Mike Daisey as well as the planned continuation of his show on Steve Jobs.

Daisey’s monologue is currently running at New York’s Public Theater. The run, which received very favorable reviews, ends this weekend with back-to-back performances on Saturday and Sunday. Daisey’s show will then start a one-month extended run at the Wooly Mammoth on March 21. Daisey’s monologue has been widely credited with kickstarting the current controversy about Apple and the tech industry’s supply chain in China. Investigations by the New York Times and This American Life brought the issue to mainstream attention.

Now that This American Life has retracted its broadcast into conditions at Apple’s factories based on Daisey’s performance, the continuation of the show appears to be in doubt. But both The Public Theater and Wooly Mammoth Theater have said they are fully behind the performer.

In a statement released to us, The Public Theater said:

In the theater, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth — that’s what a storyteller does, that’s what a dramatist does. THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS reveals, as Mike’s other monologues have, human truths in story form.

In this work, Mike uses a story to frame and lead debate about an important issue in a deeply compelling way. He has illuminated how our actions affect people half-a-world away and, in doing so, has spurred action to address a troubling situation. This is a powerful work of art and exactly the kind of storytelling that The Public Theater has supported, and will continue to support in the future.

Mike is an artist, not a journalist. Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the piece.

The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington D.C. also let us know that they plan to have Daisey perform his show this summer.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is proud to have hosted the “birth” performance and a highly successful run of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a daring work of theatre that opened people’s eyes to some of the real working conditions in Chinese factories where high-tech products are manufactured–conditions which have been documented by subsequent journalistic accounts in The New York Times and other sources. It’s a core value of Woolly to present works that spark conversation around topics of socio-political importance, and we’re proud to have played a part in bringing these issues to national attention. We look forward to welcoming Mike back for an encore performance of the show this summer.

We reached out to Mike as well to get his take on the news, but he declined to comment beyond the statement on his blog.

“I stand by my work,” he writes. “My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity.”

  • aardman

    “It’s making money right?  Well the show must go on.”  Says the theater director.

    Heck, Lillian Hellman fabricated a significant portion of her “biographical” writing.

    Actually they could make even more money by mounting “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Mike Daisey”.

  • Martin Eisenloeffel


  • Craig Ciccone

    Let’s see if we can get somone to start a petition to remove this piece of garbage from theaters.  I agree that a piece of art doesn’t need to be based on fact, but when you make specific claims based on your “research”, your intention is for people to think what they’re watching is the truth.  

  • likethepear

    Gee I’m surprised Mike Daisey isn’t in here insulting all the readers of Cult of Mac like he usually does. Fat greasy pig that he is. 

  • ericthehalfbee

    Of course they’ll keep running the show. Controversy will bring in more viewers andmoney. And as we all know, the theatre would never compromise their standards for he sake of a few extra dollars.

  • drexyl9944

    What a liar. He knows he presented his monologue as a factual account of his personal experiences. Now that he’s been exposed as a fraud he’s claiming ‘it was just a theatrical performance’. Why do people think it’s okay to lie as long as it gets your point accross?

  • Nathan Myers

    Took me all of 5 seconds when I was reading the article he posted on Cult of Mac that his mind just be coming up with all this rubbish just so he gets a bit more publicity, the problem here is that he got caught doing it! I almost want Apple and Foxconn to sue the crap out of him for falsely accusing them of having poor workplace conditions. While I’m not a ‘Foxconn is doing everything right’ person what Mike Daisey has done is just put false information out to the masses to get a reaction that would imply that Apple and Foxconn have ruined workers lives when in fact they have probably done the exact opposite.

    I would be calling for both companies to look further into how deep this rabbit hole goes and just how much Mike Daisey has been making up. I don’t know how this compulsive liar is listened to by so many.

  • Brittp2

    Too cheap to hire a publicist and does a yellow journalism piece to tout his own show. What a loooooooooser. Canceling his show if you can call it that is the least these theaters can do to not spew lies, damn lies and statistics around the district. People are gullible and will believe half truths, don’t contribute to it by giving him stage time or ink. 
    Pants on Fire.

  • CharliK

    Petitions won’t work so long as there are ticket sales. 

    Daisey presented this ‘tale’ as facts and they weren’t. That would be enough for many to not bother paying to see his show. And if the sales drop, the theaters would change their tune on supporting his show. And if people started refusing to buy season tickets etc, the theaters would really change their minds.