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Friday, August 07, 2009

Seattle: Go see The Last Cargo Cult by Mike Daisey

Sadly, New York doesn't get this show until December! So long for something getting such great (and intriguing) reviews, that say things like:

As I promised, this isn't a review of The Last Cargo Cult. I won't tell you why I was handed $20 by the usher as I entered the theater, what happens on the little island of Tana, what the John Frum Movement worships or what exactly fiat currency means. These are all part of the amazing journey of Mike Daisey's The Last Cargo Cult, a monologue which is set to have an extraordinary life including three weekends of workshops in Seattle, a premiere at Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, a run at the Playmakers Repertory Theatre in Chapel Hill, and a prime-time spot in December at the Public Theater.

Buy tickets here.

Official blurb:

Nationally acclaimed monologuist and erstwhile Seattleite Mike Daisey returns to Seattle to workshop a new monologue, The Last Cargo Cult, where he tells the true-life story of his time on a remote South Pacific island whose inhabitants worship America at the base of a constantly erupting volcano. Their religion is explored alongside our own to form a sharp and searing examination of the international financial crisis. Daisey wrestles with the largest questions of what the collapse means, and what it says about our deepest values. Part adventure story and part memoir, he uses each culture to illuminate the other to find, between the seemingly primitive and the achingly modern, a human answer.

From The Seattle Times:

Ah, what some people will do for their art.

It wasn't enough for acclaimed monologuist Mike Daisey to suddenly drop everything, and make the 20-hour air journey to Tanna, a South Pacific island in the archipelago of Vanuatu.

No, for his new show "The Last Cargo Cult" (opening tonight at Richard Hugo House) he also boned up on macroeconomics.

"We went on vacation in Mexico, and I'd be lying on the beach reading this big stack of books on the subject," recalls Daisey, an ex-Seattleite and the prolific
auteur of such other one-man shows as the acclaimed "21 Dog Years: Doing" and a "Great Men of Science" series.

So what does a remote isle have to do with Wall Street derivatives?

Trust Daisey, an intellectual omnivore, and his director-collaborator (and wife) Jean-Michele Gregory, to connect the dots.

Inspired by the world financial crisis, and the odd history of "cargo cults," the New York-based Daisey says he's really exploring the thorny relationship between human beings and money.


Cargo cults, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, are "Melanesian religious groups characterized by the belief that material wealth ... can be obtained through ritual worship."

See for more info.

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