Theaters won’t cancel, refund future Mike Daisey shows (Update)

The Public Theater, where Mike Daisey’s show “The Agony And Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is playing, has released a statement about the production [PDF]. It reads:

“In the theater, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth– that’s what a storyteller does, that’s what a dramatist does. THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS reveals, as Mike’s other monologues have, human truths in story form.

In this work, Mike uses a story to frame and lead debate about an important issue in a deeply compelling way. He has illuminated how our actions affect people half-a-world away and, in doing so, has spurred action to address a troubling situation. This is a powerful work of art and exactly the kind of storytelling that The Public Theater has supported, and will continue to support in the future.

Mike is an artist, not a journalist. Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the piece.”

Great fiction does indeed offer insight, discussion and introspection on real issues. That’s not the problem here. The problem is that Daisey knowingly let his audience assume he was sharing factual, first-hand experiences.

As for the show itself, it continues. Edward Champion of Reluctant Habits contacted the Public Theatre and found that the three remaining scheduled performances will take place. Additionally, ticket holders who’ve decided they don’t want to see the show in light of Daisey’s lies will not receive refunds.

There’s more. Daisey is scheduled to perform the show at Burlington, Vermont’s Flynn Center on March 31. Champion was told that show will be performed as scheduled. Daisey also has a run scheduled at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater Company from June 17th to August 5th. According to Champion, those performances will happen and there will be no refunds.

As for the show itself, there have been minor changes [1. Update: The AP reports on additional changes.]. Aaron Dobbs attended the March 17, 2012 2:00 PM show in New York and shared these tweets:

I’d love to know if Daisey still tells the story about meeting underage workers, after admitting on This American Life that he never did. Or if he describes a man who suffered hexane poisoning, after admitting that it never happened.

There’s no controversy at all. Daisey lied to This American Life, CBS Sunday Morning and The New York Times. He also let  his audience believe he was sharing factual, first-hand experiences. He was not.

Update: The Chicago Theatre has cancelled a performance that was supposed to feature an on-stage Q&A with Ira Glass. No surprise there.

[Via Daring Fireball]