World-Class Monologuist Mike Daisey
Mike Daisey is like the big, fat funny guy you knew as a kid who told stories in full animation so you’d burst out laughing no matter what he said. It wasn’t just that his stories were funny; rather, it was that clown-like way he had of acting everything out that made them funny.
The famed monologuist, who has been a guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and been called a “master storyteller” by the New York Times, is performing “The Last Cargo Cult” on the Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre through April 11 and a one-night performance of “How Theater Failed America” on April 5.
In “The Last Cargo Cult,” Daisey’s rubber face and voice transform him from moment to moment. For a second he seems to be like Julia Child; another moment, he’s like a haughty American; and a split second later, the corpulent blond has become a trim tribal leader of a remote island in the South Pacific.
Mixing rhetoric, philosophy and humor, Daisey follows in the footsteps of the late king monologuist Spalding Gray, who, like Daisey, sat at a large wooden table with a glass of water and his notes laid out in front of him. But whereas Gray mainly told stories in a serious, almost sedated manner, Daisey bursts forth energy like a rocket.
Daisey is nearly perfect. However, his two-hour monologue feels long and would probably play better if he tightened it. That aside, he is still one of the most phenomenal sensations on the stage today.
Mike Daisey performs “The Last Cargo Cult” on the Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre through April 11.