Photo Flash: Berkeley Rep's THE LAST CARGO CULT

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Upholding its annual resolution to present provocative new plays by the Bay, Berkeley Repertory Theatre begins the new year by dishing up a pair of daring shows. The New York Times heralded Mike Daisey as "the master storyteller" and "one of the finest solo performers of his generation." His monologues, 15 and counting, have been seen across the country and around the globe. Now Daisey returns to Berkeley Rep for an incredible doubleheader: The Last Cargo Cult and The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.

Mike Daisey enthralled audiences at Berkeley Rep with tales like Great Men of Genius, The Ugly American, and 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com. Now he returns with two new monologues that examine our obsession with commerce. With his wry eye and eccentric intellect, Daisey delivers two adventure stories - presented on different days - that cut deep with hilarious social critique:

With The Last Cargo Cult, another improbably true story, Daisey visits a remote island in the South Pacific whose inhabitants worship America and its goods at the base of an erupting volcano. He witnesses their rituals as the world's financial system collapses, spurring a soul-searching assessment of what money means and who is paying the price.

"Mike Daisey has proven himself that rare theatrical creature: an entertaining performer with something valuable to say," Variety raves. "He can be everything from a hysterical drinking buddy to the most convincing town council member, and his shifting energy keeps his work alive." Time Out New York agrees: "Daisey has a masterful command of his art. Sitting alone at a simple desk, he is all-powerful for 100 minutes. When he wants you to laugh, you laugh; when he wants you to think, you think. Often, he can even get you to do both of these things at once... He doesn't draw you into the stories he tells - not exactly. Rather, he shows how, perhaps unawares, you have been part of them all along." And the Boston Phoenix boasts, "He takes seemingly incongruent topics and mixes them with personal experiences to create the dramatic equivalent of a classic cocktail: there's a balance of strong, sweet, and sour components and a few dashes of bitters. Each night the same story emerges differently; he could be a hip-hop artist freestyling, or a Baptist preacher."

Mike Daisey's groundbreaking monologues weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance to tell hilarious and heartbreaking stories that cut to the bone, exposing secret histories and unexpected connections. His monologues include the critically acclaimed If You See Something Say Something, the controversial How Theater Failed America, the six-hour epic Great Men of Genius, the unrepeatable series All Stories Are Fiction, and the international sensation 21 Dog Years. He has performed in venues on five continents, ranging from off Broadway at The Public Theater to remote islands in the South Pacific, from the Sydney Opera House to abandoned theatres in post-Communist Tajikistan. He's been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, as well as a commentator and contributor to the BBC, NPR, Salon, Slate, Wired, and Vanity Fair. His first film, Layover, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and a feature film of his monologue If You See Something Say Something is currently in post-production. His second book, Rough Magic, a collected anthology of his monologues, will be published next year. He has been nominated for two Drama League Awards and the Outer Critics Circle Award, and is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, four Seattle Times Footlight Awards, and the Sloan Foundation's Galileo Prize.

So get dazed with Daisey. The Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street, near bus lines, bike routes, and parking lots - and only half a block from BART. For tickets or information, call 510 647-2949 or toll-free at 888 4-BRT-Tix - or simply click berkeleyrep.org.

 

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