A representative for Daisey said that within the first 48 hours of Agony and the Ecstacy's online publication Feb. 21, over 42,000 individuals had downloaded the script. The figure had risen to over 60,000 as of Feb. 24. Daisey made a bold move to allow individuals to download and perform the work without paying royalities via his website MikeDaisey.blogspot.com.
Among the first people to perform the work is actor Lance Baker, who will offer the Chicago premiere of The Agony and the Ecstasy as a benefit for A Red Orchid Theatre on March 5.
Daisey earned acclaim for the monologue that takes a hard look at working conditions within Chinese technology factories, shedding light on the human cost of demand for ever-evolving high-end gadgets in the technological age.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs received a timely New York debut last fall when it began performances a week after the Apple co-founder died at the age of 56 on Oct. 5, 2011. It is currently playing an extended encore run at the Public Theater through March 18.
"Many of us feel a deep intimacy with Steve’s passing, because Apple’s design language and Jobs’ obsessions blur the lines—in a real sense many people’s intimate history with Apple has been a decades-long conversation about industrial design with Steve Jobs himself,” Daisey said in a previous statement. He continued, "This moment is an opportunity to peel back the surface and get at the secret heart of our relationship with Steve Jobs, his devices, our labor, and China itself. We live in denial about China: a relationship that so disturbs us that we pretend our devices are made in magical Willy Wonka-esque factories by space elves instead of the real human cost we all know in our hearts has been paid. 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 out how alive theatre can be when we don’t know all the answers."
Mike Daisey's monologues include How Theater Failed America, The Last Cargo Cult, If You See Something, Say Something, Invincible Summer, Monopoly!, Great Men of Genius, The Ugly American, I Miss the Cold War, Wasting Your Breath and Stories From the Atlantic Night Cafe. His films include "Layover" and "If You See Something Say Something." Daisey recently presented his 24-hour monologue All the Hours in the Day at the TBA Festival in Portland, OR.
For tickets to A Red Orchid's benefit, visit ARedOrchidTheatre.org.