New Daisey monologue gives insight into “TATESJ”s development and ensuing scandal

Click here for audio.

Ok, anyone who is still interested in this (and interested in storytelling in general) should check out Daisey’s latest hourlong monologue, delivered (as all his monologues, at least at their genesis) extemporaneously in front of a live audience, at Georgetown U on Monday.

It is apologetic, yes, but also passionate and edifying. It really does anatomize how Daisey, through the purest intentions a monologuist can muster, eventually found himself a pariah in the national consciousness.

One gets the image of a lone sailor, captaining the ship of his story on a year-long voyage, having to make constant, subtle modifications on his vessel as he navigates the rising choppy waters of our modern-day news cycles before crashing into the unyielding Moby Dick of Ira Glass.

But the rub is this, which is something I emphasized in my earlier blog entry and which this new monologue fails to address: the 12-year-old worker anecdote.

In the speech at Georgetown, you’ll hear him passionately (and, to my ears, convincingly) defend his meeting a 13-year-old worker at the gates of Foxconn. His director/wife recollects him saying she was 14, but Daisey says he remembers 13.


But: in the monologue he performed hundreds of times all over the country, on the TAL cutting that was broadcast originally, and in the transcript (still available) on his website and performed by me at A Red Orchid Theatre, he clearly and dramatically states, “I met workers who were 14 years old, I met workers who were 13 years old, I met workers who were 12.”


This, to me, however small it appears on paper, is the quintessential blind spot of the whole affair.

To say he met a worker who was twelve is not only, by his own admission, completely untrue, but was, more importantly, completely unnecessary to make his larger point about underage workers.

Thirteen, I think we can all agree, is underage. Plenty underage.

To then say “twelve” is not just to lie in the service of “a greater truth.”

What is was in the service of is… well…

Of course, I don’t know. But in the forthcoming “full accounting” he references again in this speech, I hope he addresses it.

Not because I’m trying to trap him in a “lie”– he has suffered, and surely will suffer, enough for those kind of transgressions.

But a thorough examination into why he thought it necessary to include that particular lie might bring some closure to the question of the theater-performer/theater-audience construct that has so fascinated me since the beginning of this story, and how “L’affaire Daisey” may just be a tipping point into a radical re-thinking of how much artistic leeway storytellers will be allowed from here on out.

Has the traditional freedom-from-facts paradigm afforded by the theater gotten so persuasive and seductive that it can now compel a performer like Daisey to lie… just because he can?

Storytellers, stay tuned.


About Lance Baker

An actor and director in Chicago and on the road.

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