The evening, which was held at the Public Theater, where Daisey's monologue played extended engagements, explored issues facing theatre artists who work in documentary story-telling, and their responsibility to their audiences, their art and their subjects. The panel discussion came about following reports that Daisey had fabricated portions of his acclaimed work The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.
Following Daisey's January appearance as a guest on "This American Life," NPR "Marketplace" China Correspondent Rob Schmitz reached out to Daisey's Chinese translator to substantiate Daisey's personal stories of his encounters with laborers. The translator disputed portions of the information Daisey presented, including claims that he visited a factory in Suzhou and his gripping account of a factory laborer who sees a working iPad for the first time.
Time Out New York theatre critic Adam Feldman hosted the "Truth in Theatre" discussion, which also featured writer-director Steven Cosson (This Beautiful City), playwright-performers Jessica Blank (The Exonerated) and Taylor Mac (The Young Ladies of…), and critic-reporters Peter Marks (Washington Post) and Jason Zinoman (The New York Times). A podcast of the evening is forthcoming.
"Some of you may have heard that there was a monologue. And some of you may have also heard that not everything in this monologue was entirely factually accurate, and that parts of this monologue may or may not have been exaggerated or fabricated for dramatic purposes, and that this became a scandal when it left the proscenium and moved onto the radio waves. And that’s what we will be discussing here today," Feldman says at the start of the evening. You can read the full transcript here.
Daisey is currently at work on another theatrical piece that centers on the aftermath of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. It received a developmental presentation at the Cape Cod Theatre Project earlier this summer. He continues to tour a revised version of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs across the country.