The explosively funny monologist Mike Daisey was working The Public Theater last fall, performing his Homeland Security send-up, If You See Something, Say Something, when the economy took that long, agonizing nosedive into the toilet, setting him off on another raging routine. The result is The Last Cargo Cult, and he is premiering it appropriately (through Dec. 13), at The Public.
"All together, counting previews, that's about two weeks," Daisey said of the Public gig. "There was the desire to create something that was An Event — that was event-driven so that it happened and then it's gone. With our schedule and The Public's schedule — this was the marriage that makes the most sense. I think everybody wants it to run longer, but then again — Barnum always said you should leave while people want more."
It is gone, then? No. Specifically, it's "heading for the Wooly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and it's going to tour Ireland and throughout the U.K. I'm of Irish descent, but I've never been there."
This is his 15th monologue — his fifth at The Public — and it chronicles a trek that he made during the financial crisis to Tanna, a primitive Pacific isle which blissfully exists without jobs or money.
Currently racing around in his brain is his magnum opus. "I'm working on a piece that is very large called All the Hours in the Day. It's actually 24 interlinking monologues, each about an hour long and performed over an entire day — a 24-hour show. It would start probably on a Friday at 9 and end on a Saturday around 9. I’d take 10-minute breaks every hour, with each monologue going 50 minutes long. The show will be about insanity, exhaustion and a bunch of other threats. I would follow the time zones in places of the world and travel around the entire world."
His director is his wife, Jean-Michele Gregory.
— Harry Haun