A lady in the front row crocheted a black scarf during one of my final performances of Agony/Ecstasy at 16th Street. During the talkback I commented that that had been a first for me. The scarf arrived in the mail yesterday, along with this lovely note. (ps, if anyone knows her let me know, there was no return address, and I haven’t been able to thank her)
“The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” — Review recap:
“Four stars… Baker’s uncanny but not imitative channeling of Daisey only highlights the writer’s unnerving skill at weaving parallel narratives into a compelling whole. The playwright isn’t condemning Apple exclusively but the entire electronics industry and our consumer role in refusing to question the provenance of our goods. If any audience members leave without thinking differently about the devices in our pockets, they weren’t listening honestly.” — Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago
“The information in ‘Agony 2.0,’ here performed by actor Lance Baker, has been fact-checked, exhaustively scrutinized and corroborated by plenty of sources like The New York Times. Regardless, this is a theater review, not an exposé, and ‘TATESJ’ is an exemplary, hysterical, coyly mobilizing work of theater… profound, effective, poignant and hilarious.” — Johnny Oleksinski, Newcity Chicago
“Staged with a witty, precise touch, the new Agony is a riveting tale about an important issue.” — Keith Griffith, Chicago Reader
“The piece has been tweaked since that scandal, and if anything, it’s more powerful. It takes a gifted storyteller to keep a nearly two-hour monologue on overseas sweatshops from turning into a preach-fest… actor/director Lance Baker keeps his audience rapt. And, often, laughing… there’s no denying the power of Baker’s wry, understatedly acerbic and self-deprecating delivery…. a rip-roaring piece of storytelling and a provocative piece of theater.” — Catey Sullivan, Oak Park Suntimes
“Highly Recommended! Baker is sensational in this adventure! Our job as an audience is to be entertained! That is why we go to the theater, isn’t it? To break away from the stress and strife in our own lives, for at least a small period of time, where we can laugh or cry and have a diversion from the things that may be troubling us. This production DOES that!” — Alan Bresloff, Around the Town Chicago
And… if you’d like to read a hilarious recap (by our local culturistas Eric and Andy) about a brief but illuminating dustup between Daisey, myself, and the head writer/domain registrar of Chicagocritic.com, you can light the snark fart here.
Newcity: “Lance Baker, who occasionally delivers Shanley’s witty lines rather illogically.”
Suntimes: “Lance Baker, that master of language, who keeps us guessing about his guilt or innocence long after the lights go down.”
Timeout: “Baker creates a believable image of a man who has engaged in no inappropriate conduct but still struggles with something buried deep within.”
This is why, if you’re going to read reviews, it’s best to read ALL of them. I’ve created a believable image of a man who has engaged in no inappropriate conduct but will keep you guessing about his guilt or innocence. It takes an illogical mastery of language to pull that off.