Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: The Musical

Mount Vernon United Methodist Church—Mountain

Remaining Performances:

Sunday, July 14, 2:15 p.m.
Wednesday, July 17, 6:15 p.m.
Saturday, July 20, 10 p.m.
Tuesday, July 23, 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 28, 4 p.m.

They Say: "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is one of the most controversial plays in recent theatre history. It has been produced over 50 times all over the world, and even performed in China… and now it's a musical."

Lauren's Take: Mike Daisey is an extraordinarily talented entertainer and storyteller. I've seen him twice, and not once did I ask myself what it would be like to hear him sing.

The impulse behind Timothy Guillot’s musical adaptation of Daisey’s monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is clear: to bring more life and comedy into a great story. But what happens when Steve Jobs is portrayed as even less likable than he might have been? Sure, he was arguably needed and desired in our tech world— an asshole and genius at the same time—but he's portrayed by Steve Isaac as a total asshole. (Isaac's portrayal of Daisey was pretty great.) What I think I should have left with was that Jobs didn’t know “where his shit came from,” not that he was the asshole-villain who would put the workers at Foxconn through hell to build his empire.

The musical takes the stance that we, American consumers, don’t care about the origin of our electronics, or shit, as much as we should. We are addicted to our products and crave them without ever knowing about the hands that have been broken, the factory-worker suicides, and the blacklisting of Foxconn workers in the building of our technology. I totally get this. I am one of those consumers. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in my tech-obsession.

Although this is a heavy-message piece, it has quite a few comedic moments. Some of the best come courtesy of the strong female actors in the chorus: Gillian Jackson Han and Emily Kester. Turning Daisey's original monologue into an ensemble piece proves successful thanks mainly to, well, the ensemble, which is rounded out by Phil Dickerson and Mikey Cafarelli. The projections also enhanced the musical. Remember that little paperclip helper dude from PowerPoint? He makes an appearance. Maybe even steals the show.

See it if: You know nothing about Foxconn. You really should know about the wounded hands that produced your device.

Skip it if: You are a Steve Jobs fan, and think he's a genius, not an asshole.

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