The Trump Card
Sept 14 & Sept 21 2016
Mike Daisey takes on the reigning world heavyweight of self-mythologizing, the short-fingered vulgarian who captured a nation’s heart through bullying, charm, one-syllable explosions, and occasionally telling the brutal truth: Donald J. Trump. Daisey tells Trump’s story from his earliest days, tracking him as he makes himself into a new American archetype—the very first rich man famous exclusively for being rich. Daisey weaves the Donald’s story alongside the evolution of the American oligarchy and the rise of dark money, a new ruling class empowered by a country trained to worship at a 24 carat solid gold super classy altar. Instead of dismissing Trump as a simple con artist and huckster, Daisey breaks down what makes Trump tick—and in doing so illuminates the state of our American Dream and how we’ve sold it out.
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Mike Daisey, hailed as “the master storyteller” by The New York Times, is the preeminent monologist in the American theater today. He has been compared to a modern-day Mark Twain and a latter-day Orson Welles for his provocative monologues that combine the political and the personal, weaving together secret histories with hilarity and heart. He’s known for art that crosses boundaries, like his critically acclaimed 29-night live theatrical novel, All the Faces of the Moon, a forty hour performance staged at the Public Theater in New York City, and the controversial The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.
He has toured across five continents, ranging from remote islands in the South Pacific to the Sydney Opera House to abandoned theaters in post-Communist Tajikistan. He’s been a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, the Late Show with David Letterman, a longtime host and storyteller with The Moth, as well as a commentator and contributor to The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, Newsweek, WIRED, Vanity Fair, Slate, Salon, NPR and theBBC. In a brief, meteoric career with This American Life, his appearances are among the most listened to and downloaded episodes of that program’s history. He has been nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama League Awards, and is the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, six Seattle Times Footlight Awards, the Sloan Foundation’s Galileo Prize, and a MacDowell Fellowship.
Since his first monologue in 1997, Daisey has created countless monologues, including the critically-acclaimed The Last Cargo Cult, the controversial How Theater Failed America, the twenty-four-hour feat All the Hours in the Day, the unrepeatable series All Stories Are Fiction, the four-part epic Great Men of Genius, and the international sensation 21 Dog Years. Other titles include If You See Something Say Something, Barring the Unforeseen, Invincible Summer, Monopoly!, American Utopias, I Miss the Cold War, and Five Technical Rehearsals in India.
As a playwright, his transcript of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first week it was made available. Under a revolutionary open license it has seen more than 150 productions around the world and been translated into six languages. Years later there are productions being staged all over the world every night from in Germany to Sao Paolo to mainland China. He is currently at work on his second book, Here at the End of Empire, which will be published by Simon and Schuster.
“In the show you say to Republicans: You are responsible for Mr. Trump because you ignored him and laughed at him. You say to Democrats: You’re responsible because you ignored working-class white guys. Is that right?
That’s something of a simplification. What I actually said about the Republican Party is that they were racist. Just so we don’t soften it too much. I think they also didn’t take him seriously. When you do racist [expletive] for decades, over and over, then eventually you get to say it’s a racist party. Riling up the base and making this base very angry and making it racially charged by dog-whistling endlessly, year after year, has consequences, and this is one of them.
But you don’t let the left or Democrats off the hook either.
The thing about a theatrical performance especially is that your job is to work with and speak to the people in the room. People in the theater are the left. I’m always interested in skewering, examining and implicating the people in the room because they are the ones that showed up for the performance. Once you implicate them, then they actually start thinking about what their position is. I’m doing the monologue and if I’m telling you, ‘You agree with me, don’t you?’ and you say ‘I do,’ and I say ‘I do too, I feel so good about that,’ that’s not useful. “
(Read more at the New York Times)