Tag Archives: Mike Daisey

Berkeley Rep audiences give Mike Daisey some cash

Mike Daisey in Tehe Last Cargo Cult
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At the end of every performance of  “The Last Cargo Cult” at Berkeley Rep, monologist Mike Daisey invited the audience to return to him some of the cash that had been handed out at the beginning of the show.

As members of the audience had walked in, they had been handed crisp $1, $5, $10, $20 or $100 bills.

The money represented what Berkeley Rep had paid him for each performance. Daisey challenged the audience to decide how much his show was worth. They were informed they could keep the money, give it back, or even add a little extra. … Continue reading »

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Mike Daisey recounts our obsession with cash

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At the end of Mike Daisey’s solo show “The Last Cargo Cult,” now playing at Berkeley Rep, all I could do was sit back and gape.

For more than two hours I had watched Daisey shout, scream, murmur, and sweat as he spun a tale about the mysteries of a South Pacific island and the mysterious devotion Westerners have to cash. With little more than a few sheets of notes, a glass of water, a table, a handkerchief to wipe off his brow, and a backdrop of dozens of cardboard boxes featuring every conceivable type of consumer product, Daisey had managed to keep the audience captivated.

Starting with the chilling tale of how he almost died in a island puddle-hopper, and continuing through with stories of his (almost) middle class childhood in Maine, his rude awakening as a freshmen in college that some of his classmates had a lot cooler gadgets than he would ever be able to afford, and on to tales of our obsession with objects, Daisey was a force-field, drawing the audience further and further into his orbit.

Granted, not all the stories he told were engrossing. I didn’t really care for his recounting of the nine-hour dance pageant performed in the honor of one John Frum on the island of Vanuatu.  And while he tries to make “The Last Cargo Cult,” a piece that calls into question the centrality of possessions and the willingness of Americans to bow to the mighty dollar, he doesn’t quite succeed. Yet I had a very good time going along for the ride.

(Warning: spoiler coming up)

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