NEW YORK — The show must go on. That appears to be the attitude of the the New York Public Theater in the wake of the revelation that Mike Daisey, the performer behind their hit one-man show “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” actually fabricated most of the important details of his visit to an Apple supplier factory in China said to host dangerous and deplorable working conditions.
A representative for the theater told TPM that the final three performances scheduled in “Agony’s” extended run — scheduled for Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18 — will occur as planned and that no refunds will be given for those customers who wish not to attend in light of the revelations of Daisey’s falsehoods.
“We’re not canceling anything and were not refunding,” the representative told TPM. The representative further said that Daisey would appear as planned.
A full statement from the Public Theater follows:
In the theater, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth— that’s what a storyteller does, that’s what a dramatist does. THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS reveals, as Mike’s other monologues have, human truths in story form.
In this work, Mike uses a story to frame and lead debate about an important issue in a deeply compelling way. He has illuminated how our actions affect people half-a-world away and, in doing so, has spurred action to address a troubling situation. This is a powerful work of art and exactly the kind of storytelling that The Public Theater has supported, and will continue to support in the future.
Mike is an artist, not a journalist. Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the piece.
Daisey’s supposed 2011 visit to Apple’s supplier Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, China, makes up the bulk of “Agony” and was later adapted into an episode of the public radio journalism program This American Life that ran in January and quickly became the most popular in the program’s history.
But on Friday, This American Life retracted that entire episode explaining that it contained “significant fabrications” and that Daisey “lied” to and “misled” the show’s producers.
WBEZ, the Chicago-based public radio network that hosts This American Life, has cancelled a performance of “Agony” that was scheduled to occur at The Chicago Theatre on April 7, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Daisey, an American monologist — or performer of theatrical monologues — received rave critical reviews for “Agony,” a monologue that mixes details of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ life with the reportedly inhumane working conditions he said he witnessed firsthand at the Foxconn factory. Daisey on Friday released a statement on his personal blog saying “what I do is not journalism,” and that he regretted letting This American Life air the episode but it was his “only regret.”
“I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China,” Daisey’s statement read.