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Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Mike Daisey Experience: The Video

posted by on April 21 at 13:26 PM

As monologuist Mike Daisey alerted us yesterday:

Last night’s performance of INVINCIBLE SUMMER [at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA] was disrupted when eighty-seven members of a Christian group walked out of the show en masse, and chose to physically attack my work by pouring water on and destroying the original of the show outline.

To read Brendan’s original post on the fiasco (and the attendant hubbub in comments) go here.

And to see video of the weird-as-fuck walkout/attack and Daisey’s masterful handling of it, look below.

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I feel like going to those 87 people who walked out church and walking out mid sermon in protest of what they just did to this guy. I can't though, I'm not from MA.
I'm not a reactionary, at least I try not to be anymore, but that is amazing that people are so crass like that.
Mike Daisy handled that well.

Posted by summertime | April 21, 2007 2:04 PM

This makes me so sad. But maybe they were scared that Paris Hilton was showing up - especially if they are foreigners - I bet she seems scary to them.
They really didn't want to see her fuck

Posted by Native Girl | April 21, 2007 2:11 PM

Daisey/Gregory 2008!

Posted by Dominic Holden | April 21, 2007 2:20 PM

"We wanted unicorns. And you never showed us any unicorns."

Posted by sniggles | April 21, 2007 2:22 PM

read up on the situationists. 50 years ago, associates of Debord snuck into Notre dame midnite mass, dressed as priests, and delivered a sermon based on Nietszche's 'God is dead. we let religion people slide these days, been done. we are are something like the Neeo-Situs. Vaneigem's treatise has been updated - "the revolution of everySecond life". fiddling with the slog is our downtime. and you won't be reading about us in any paper, even when we decide to erase ourselves. Peace.

Posted by keenan | April 21, 2007 2:36 PM

roger that.

Posted by summertime | April 21, 2007 2:41 PM

@5 - Huh?

Posted by Sean | April 21, 2007 2:41 PM

You know, actually, I just watched the whole thing through, and you're right- Mike's handling, starting about halfway through when he began to re-address the audience, WAS masterful. I have never been a real fan of his (I bought but didn't enjoy his book about working at, but this was great. I'm definitely going to make a point of seeing him the next time I'm in Seattle.

Posted by sniggles | April 21, 2007 2:44 PM

Wow. Maybe it's horrible to say this, but I wish I'd been there. I've never seen people so passionate about theater and its pernicious influence. I feel like I've been transported to the 16th century. Live performance is revolutionary again.

Anyway, those Christians should have gone to see Strawberry Theatre Workshop's The Water Engine in Seattle. No foul language, plenty of chaste pantomime, and a theme of overwhelming persecution. They would've felt right at home.

(Normal people will like the show too. Tonight's the last night: 7:30 pm at the Hugo House, $20.)

Posted by annie | April 21, 2007 2:46 PM

Stunning, both for the sheer hatred, ignorance and self-centeredness of those 87 Christians, and for Mike's incredible profesionalism and discipline in the face of it.

I don't know if this ranks up there with the kinds of things that used to happen in the theatre in the 18th & 19th centuries; the riots, the fights, the small-scale skirmishes that used to break out in the theatres and opera houses of the day, but I feel like I've just seen one of those rare, incredible events that testify to the power of live theatre to provoke and engage audiences.

I'm sorry for what happened to Mike, but give him full props for keeping his head, and turning a potential disaster into somethign triumphant and transcendent.

If the churchies think they won some sort of victory with their little walk out and tantrum, they couldn't be more wrong.

Posted by COMTE | April 21, 2007 3:40 PM

When I hit play on the video was stomach was in knots but the way Mike handled it calmed me down immediately, and then became a fascinating act of its own. Amazing. And weird and upsetting. But mostly amazing.

#8: Thank you for recognizing the proper moral of this story: Mike Daisey shows are great.

Posted by David Schmader | April 21, 2007 3:52 PM

Wow. That was great -- he handled that so well.

It reminds me of my recent altercation with Christians: I was invited to address a class of journalism students at the UW, and I rode the bus over -- on my own time, my own dime. And told them what I know about journalism; some might argue that I don't know much, but, hey, the prof asked me to come. And I used the word "fuck." And this agitated dude raises his hand and bitches me out for using profanity.

I told him to fuck himself. That if came to my office at my invitation to do a favor for me, I wouldn't police his language. And invited him to get the fuck out.

Having tourettes syndrome, as I do, meant that every other word out of my mouth from that point on was fuck or shit or asshole or motherfucker. I didn't handle it as well as Daisey...

Posted by Dan Savage | April 21, 2007 6:02 PM

Oh, David - I felt the same way. I almost didn't have the nerve to watch it. It's been such a shitty week all around, and Mike's description alone left me breathless with upset. But I stand behind Mike, and if he had to go through it that close up, the least I can do is see it thousands of miles away on screen. As always (just like his shows), Mike's grace and compassion calmed and inspired me.

Posted by Peggy G. | April 21, 2007 6:06 PM

Just wait until Mike and Jean do the abortion show I've heard about...

Posted by kittenhead | April 21, 2007 8:34 PM


Posted by rufus | April 21, 2007 10:58 PM

Very similar to what happened in Deutschland in the late 1920's. Anything 'upsetting' to the fascist wave got this kind of treatment in the early days, ramping up to you-know-what.

Iraq, you're no Suedetenland!

Posted by Dyke Maisey | April 22, 2007 9:06 AM

Daisey! You are a class act all the way! That was the weirdest shit, and you handled it like a pro! BRAVO!

Posted by Nick | April 22, 2007 9:21 AM

What fucking sheep. They all leave together. It was clearly planned beforehand, unless they're the Borg and they all got offended at exactly the same time. But what really gets me is the water. It wasn't enough for them to leave they had to ruin the show for everyone else. The utter selfishness of it, that because we don't like the show no one else's enjoyment or comfort mean a thing. Self-righteous fuckwits.

Posted by D. | April 22, 2007 3:25 PM

those people that got up and left are stupid. they probably just helped his career more than anything else. ha!

Posted by jameyb | April 22, 2007 7:52 PM

I'm no stranger to walkouts during my productions (though usually I assume it's because the audience members in question found the quality of my work offensive, not the content), but FUCK, watching that self-righteous asshole pour water on Mike's outline made my blood boil. A plague on all their families! And more power to Mike for having the grace to recover from such a distressing incident and the self-control to not punch that jackhole right in the face.

Posted by chrisdiani | April 22, 2007 10:22 PM

Hey all, lets all go to church and then pour water on the bible when they don't say fuck.

Posted by mason | April 23, 2007 9:17 AM

Are we sure it was a question of religion?
Maybe they were Paris Hilton junkies?

p.s. Just kidding: He handled it in awesome fashion!

Posted by Paul Curtin | April 23, 2007 11:28 AM

...on the other hand, we may have stumbled on a sure fire way to get a bunch of uptight prigs out of the room.
He's a far better man than I. I would have shouted, "after the rapture, can I have your stuff?" and whatnot...

Posted by Paul Curtin | April 23, 2007 1:39 PM

-- lame christians... seriously lame.

Posted by Aaro)))n Edge | April 23, 2007 4:34 PM

I just read that the students in question were from a secular high school (Norco High School, from East of Anaheim in California.), that suggests that some of the knee jerk anti-Christian comments may be somewhat out of line...

But that the school group DID inquire about the content of the show AND WAS TOLD THAT IT INCLUDES PROFANITY AND ADULT SUBJECT MATTER and they bought tickets anyway., that suggests that this walk-out and water pouring WAS a premeditated act...signifying...what?

The more I learn about this, the more confused I get.


Here's a link to the item in the Boston Globe

Posted by pgreyy | April 24, 2007 9:40 AM

This is waaaay down the page now, so don't know that many of you will see it, but Mike posted a follow-up to the incident on his web site today:

Truly amazing stuff. And please note: although the group came from a public high school, they continually identified THEMSELVES as a "Christian group": they did so when they initially contacted the box office the day of the show, when they walked out during the performance, and when one of their group was subsequently contacted by Mike himself.

So, no knee-jerking in the least

Posted by COMTE | April 24, 2007 3:02 PM

...and I thought I'd done such a good job of covering my ass by saying "that SUGGESTS that SOME of the knee jerk anti-Christian reactions MAY be SOMEWHAT out of line."


Posted by pgreyy | April 24, 2007 4:32 PM

Well, because of them, I've now heard of Mike Daisey, and like him. I'd never heard of him before. Guess that didn't work so well for them huh?
And the guy who dumped the water has grown kids? What a good example he's been huh?

Posted by Donna | May 1, 2007 8:37 PM

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