Sunday, February 13, 2011


"The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" is a one-person, two-hour monologue performance created and performed by Mike Daisey.

Through the end of February it is being performed at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. If you haven't seen it yet, you have two more weeks before it closes.

As a longtime MacManiac, longtime Apple computer and all things Apple fan, as well as a former Apple employee, there was no way I was going to miss a play with Steve Jobs' name in its title.

Jim was a bit tentative about a two-hour monologue but agreed to go with me today. Throughout Daisey's engaging performance, neither of us even considered taking our eyes and ears away from the performance. It is totally captivating and also sobering.

Daisey tells parallel tales of the rise of Apple as a technology company under the leadership of Steve Jobs. He winds this part of his story around his own love of all things Apple.

The other side of his story is about Foxconn, the Chinese company where many Apple products, including the iPhone, and just about all the electronics manufactured by other companies are manufactured. Much of the assembly work is done by Chinese employees, some of them as young at 11 or 12 years old. The work conditions are the equivalent to that of indentured slavery or serfdom. Daisey tells his story of his visit to Foxconn and the people he met.

By the end of the play, I felt somewhat ambivalent about all things Apple as well as my light bulbs, TVs, and every other item that I consider essential to my daily life.

Even if you are an HP, Dell, Nokia, Sony or any other brand user, this is a not-to-miss play.

Daisey is entertaining, engaging, and he has a message to share.

See "The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."


mary ann said...

I have heard and read great reviews about this play and enjoyed yours so much. It's not just Outsourcing, is it? Exploiting is more like it.

Where-To-Guide said...

It is much more than outsourcing; in fact, Daisey just approached the fact that China is where much of what we use in all aspects of our lives is made. His point is the unreasonable working conditions where up to 13 workers can sleep in one room and where workers, some as young at 11 years old are working their fingers to the bone. He made an interesting point of mentioning how many of us yearn for the days when most of what we consumed was "hand made." Well, even with our electronics, a good portion of each item is "hand made" because machines and robots cannot accurately do the fine assembly work that is required to make that perfect smart phone or that LED light bulb.