It was a sucker punch to the gut. Days after we had started publicizing and fundraising for our first production – THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS, the news broke. The playwright, Mike Daisey, was being accused of lying about what he had written about the terrible conditions in Chinese factories. The problem was that Daisey was more than a playwright – he was giving first-person testimony about what he had seen and experienced. He represented his words as fact. And now, we learn that some of it – some of the most emotionally affecting parts, were fiction.
Staci and I were stunned. She had taken a seminar from him when she lived in New York. We knew people who were friends with his family members. Emails had been exchanged with him about our production. We liked him – his performance style, his generosity, his huge heart. And we loved the script – fiercely funny and moving. Perfect for our mission of producing provocative theatre that makes you FEEL.
But now the show, and Daisey himself, was compromised. There’s a compelling story here – one of hubris and the desire to do good and what shortcuts we take in trying to connect with an audience. And maybe we will do this show sometime down the road – with some scenes of our own devising that put his story and his fall from grace in context. It could be interesting. But only after time has passed and we have some perspective.
And maybe this is all serendipitous. Because we have a show we can substitute. A show we have talked about, wanted to produce later, a show that is PERFECT for introducing the Flying Anvil Theatre to Knoxville.
The play is PARDON ME FOR LIVING and it’s Staci’s own one-woman show. Written after her close encounter with a rabid raccoon. Written after taking a seminar with Mike Daisey. It’s as strong and moving and funny as anything he wrote. And I can vouch for the truth of the story. I visited her in the hospital. She has the scars to prove it. (From the raccoon, not from me.)
There’s even a Knoxville connection in the show – I’m a character in her play. Wait til you see her play me – it’s a hoot. Everyone should experience being a character in someone else’s play. It’s humiliating and exalting, all at once.
So please come see PARDON ME FOR LIVING. It’s not the show we planned to do, but I’m certain it’s the show we are SUPPOSED to be doing. I think you’ll agree.
Ticket info is under the 2012 Schedule tab.