The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

Powerful but rather static monologue

There’s no denying the power of American monologuist Mike Daisey’s one-man show. A one-time worshipper at the altar of Apple, the writer’s desire to learn more about the human beings assembling his favourite gizmos inspired a trip to the Chinese mega-city of Shenzhen, home to Apple’s largest supplier, Foxconn. What he found there – nets stretched around the vast plant to catch the bodies of suicidal employees, workers in their early teens, people living in cramped dormitory-style accommodation – would cause even the most dedicated of Apple aficionados to question their need for the latest version of the iPad.

Recent controversy over Daisey’s acknowledged conflation of first- and second-hand accounts don’t overshadow the powerful political and ethical considerations raised by the monologue. While the writing is sharp, frequently funny and unflinching, and Grant O’Rourke is on fine, combative form in the Daisey role, the lack of variety in the staging means that the show feels too much like a rather aggressively delivered lecture and rather fails to fully engage or satisfy as a piece of drama.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, run now ended.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs Revisited

  • 3 stars

Gilded Balloon. Daisey's play about America's mysterious technology icon is revisited for 2013. This is a hilarious and sometimes harrowing tale of Steve Jobs and the Chinese workers toiling to make your beloved iPhones. Explore the legality and morality of electronic sweatshops in China, complete with armed guards…