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Daisey changing ‘Agony’

Steve Jobs' death affects monologist's show

The impact of Steve Jobs’ death has resonated Off Broadway, with solo performer Mike Daisey working to incorporate changes into his upcoming show at the Public Theater, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”

Production, a monologue written and performed by Daisey and helmed by Jean-Michele Gregory, has been been seen all over the world and is set to begin Gotham perfs Oct. 11.

“His death will lead to really large changes throughout the show,” Daisey said.

Monologue follows the twin threads of Jobs’ career at Apple and the performer’s own experiences during a visit to China to investigate the working conditions at iPhone manufacturer Foxconn. “Agony and the Ecstasy” offers a sharp critique that calls attention to the what Daisey sees as the divide between Jobs’ status as a tech guru and the workers’ rights issues raised by the manufacture of his gadgets.

Although Daisey is certain the monologue will change, he said he’s not yet sure exactly how, noting that Jobs’ death shifts the entire context of the piece. “What’ll be really interesting is the amount of deification that’s happening right now, and how the show will play in that environment,” he said.

The performer is no stranger to switching things up on the fly. Although he follows a basic outline for the show every night, he improvises exactly which stories he’ll tell and when. According to Daisey, each perf reps a pared-down version of about 4 1/2 hours worth of material, edited and shaped as he goes.

The performer said that despite Jobs’ death, he expected the monologue to retain the same unflinching take on its topic, in a nod to a biographical subject who, by all accounts, wasn’t much prone to nostalgia.

“I’m hoping to make a real effort to excavate Jobs’ legacy in this really direct, unsparing, unsentimental way,” Daisey said.

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