Mike Daisey is an artist I’ve written about more often and in greater detail than only anyone else. He’s certainly the artist with to whom I’ve spent the most time speaking directly. The reviews I’ve written of his monologues and the features I’ve reported about how he creates them and the op-ed I was once moved to write in his defense all reflect my great admiration for his work.
That has not prevented me from condemning him when I think he’s deserved it, and he did do something that warranted condemnation, years ago. I will say that in the third year of a Donald J. Trump administration, it seems awfully quaint that so many journalists who had never publicly discussed theatre at all before they lined up to express their outrage at Daisey in the spring of 2012 got so steamed over a guy who tells stories in theaters for a living taking some liberties with one of them.
Anyway, Daisey’s wildly ambitious current show A People’s History—an 18 part retelling of American history circa 1492-to-now, based heavily on the work of Howard Zinn but also on Daisey’s own life—is the subject of my second Washington City Paper cover story about him, available today wherever finer Washington, DC alt-weeklies are given away for free. My 2012 WCP story detailing the problems he created for himself with his show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, and his effort to remedy them, is here. In fact, all of my writings about Daisey are mere clicks away! How much time do you have?
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lucas Hnath’sA Doll’s House, Part 2 for a couple of years. The announcement that the Broadway hit’s DC premiere from Round House Theatre would star the great Holly Twyford as Nora? Music to my ears.
In this week’s Washington City Paper, I try to diagnose why Nicole A. Watson’s production is so bloodless.
There’s been no shortage of opportunities to see Mary Stuart,Friedrich Schiller’s early 19th century play about mid-16th century skullduggery among queens, in the DMV over the last decade. But Olney Theatre Center honcho Jason Loewith’s stripped-down update is good. I reviewed it in last week’s Washington City Paper.
I didn’t write about Ella Hickson’sOil, the best play I’ve seen this year. But I did reviewLucy Kirkwood’sThe Children, the second-best. I’m struck by how different two plays with ecological themes written by British women born in the 80s that premiered in 2016 can be. I also wrote aboutFolger’s new production of the seldom-staged Shakespeare comedy, Love’s Labor’s Lost.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something… something. In this week’s Washington City Paper, I review Kleptocracy, an imperfect but intriguingVladimir Putin origin story by Kenneth Lin at Arena Stage, starring the guy in the cast who looks the second-most Putinlike as Putin. Plus a puzzling new production of Twelve Angry Men at Ford’s.