In the end, Steve Jobs failed to “think different,” in the deepest way
In his brilliant monologue, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, seen here at Woolly Mammoth last March, Mike Daisey laid out both his obsession with Steve Jobs and Apple’s technology, and the shocking truths he discovered in a visit to the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said “I will never be the same after seeing that show.”
In an email received this morning, Mike Daisey wrote “In this crucial moment, the world is assessing Steve Jobs’s legacy, and if we want the narrative to contain any details of how our devices are manufactured and the human cost the first world is built on, it’s absolutely vital to try and bring those details into view and widen the conversation.” His OpEd piece appears in this morning’s New York Times.
“We can admire the design perfection and business acumen” he writes for the Times, “while acknowledging the truth: with Apple’s immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to. If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. We would also see a man who in the end failed to “think different,” in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.”
Mike Daisey is in New York now, preparing to open The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Public Theatre. How will Jobs’s death affect the play? Daisey, who speaks only from notes, told the NY Daily News ” It changes everything in a fundamental way. It impacts every area.”
“Steve Jobs was famous for his unsentimental directness, his ability to ignore nostalgia and demand the unvarnished truth, however difficult. I admire that, and these performances at this precise moment are an opportunity for us to together rediscover how alive theater can be when we don’t know all the answers” Daisey writes on the Public Theatre site.
His email today ended with “As I write this I do not know what will happen in the room, to the story, in light of Steve’s passing. I do know that this is the ultimate, best use of the theater: to honestly investigate the essentially human, and discover together the story we must tell.”
Mike Daisey performs The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs Oct 11 – Nov 13, 2011 at The Public Theatre, 425 Lafayette St, NYC.
Details and tickets
Tim Treanor reviews The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs