The Agony and The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs inspires and teaches, not preaches! And, I learned that my IPhone is blood soaked.
Review by Cassie Jordan
One-person shows are a difficult undertaking. Many are difficult to watch because of the whiny, self-centeredness of the writer and actor involved with the subject matter. But through Robert McCaskill’s direction and Matthew Quinn producing skills, “The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” does none of those things. Through stories, real accounts, and history, it condemns all of us, but gives us a way to redemption. Now that’s the theatre I like to see. Theatre that inspires and teaches, not preaches!
I have an intimate relationship with my iPhone. I love my IPhone! I use it for everything as a phone, GPS, calculator, alarm clock, Facebook, email, & texting. I shop on it and not a day goes by that I don’t Google something I don’t know. It is as essential to me as my right hand. But I have never stopped to think about where it came from.
I just figured my IPhone 5 was made in a factory somewhere in Silicon Valley by robots. Who else could put together such delicate technology?
Boy! Was I wrong. I had my mind and eyes opened at the Theatre Asylum by Mike Daisey’s riveting one man show The Agony and The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs expertly performed by Alex Lyras. That night at the theatre, I learned that my IPhone is blood soaked!
Alex Lyras’ performance explored how Mike Daisey became a huge fan of technology and computers. He worshiped and followed the rise of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, while exploring the birth of Apple, from that garage in Berkeley to the soulless billion-dollar behemoth it has become.
As the “Apple” star started to rise, Daisey started hearing rumors that he thought couldn’t be true, of inhuman working treatment and conditions of Apple workers in China. So being a devout disciple of the church of Apple, he decided to see for himself if the rumors were true. He flew to China and with help from his translator, he saw and interviewed many of the workers to find out what was going on behind the armed guarded walls of Foxconn and Apple. Behind the walls, through Tim Arnold’s excellent use of multimedia and photograph, we are exposed to the millions of workers willing to speak to him about their terrible conditions: being roomed in barracks 16 bunks to a room with no privacy, working on the line, in silence, as much as 24 hour shifts without breaks, and being watched like hawks as they continuously assemble our iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Blu-ray’s and Nanos. It isn’t just Apple though, it is all tech companies in China. He also found out there had been a run of suicides at the factories in China and instead of helping the working conditions, they installed nets between the buildings to catch the suicide attempts. I guess the nets are cheaper than messing with the flow of the assembly line!
Alex Lyras’s performance of Daisey’s rapier witted script is riveting and entertaining. He is able to show us that we all are guilty of drinking the “Apple” Kool-Aid and turning a blind eye to the price paid by Chinese workers, in favor of all our reasonably priced technology. But now that we have the knowledge of these dark practices and that knowledge is power, we now have a responsibility to bring about change. Every one of us has blood on our hands. He even gave the audience an email address to write the present CEO of Apple to get him to change their unethical worker practices. My favorite quote was, ” Why does temptation, and the subsequent fall, always involve an apple?” Clever!!
Cast list:Performed By Alex Lyras
Adapted from the monologue by Mike Daisey
Directed By Robert McCaskill
Multimedia by Tim Arnold
Produced By Matthew Quinn
Presented By Combined Artform/ Theatre Asylum
Wednesdays @ 8:00pm: Feb 20,27; March 6,13,20,27;
April 3,10, 2013
Where: Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA. 90038
(1 1/2 blocks west of Vine St.)
1-800-838-3006 or agonyecstasy.brownpapertickets.com
General Admission: $20.00
Students (w/valid ID) & seniors $15.00
Thespian Thoughts is a show on Actors Entertainment, a channel of the
Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.