Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Steve Jobs' misunderstood monologuist

March 5, 2010: 7:05 AM ET

The agony and the ecstasy of a storyteller who bleeds in six colors

Mike Daisey's "Great Men of Genius"

"If you are a tech journalist writing about 'The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,' " begins Thursday's entry in Mike Daisey's long-running blog (first entry: August, 2001):

  1. My last name is spelled Daisey.
  2. I will not be playing the "role" of Steve Jobs. The monologue concerns Steve Jobs' rise and fall and rise, Apple, industrial design, and the human price we are willing to pay for our technology, woven together in a complex narrative. I play no one but myself, speaking to the audience.
  3. I'm a monologuist. What I perform is a monologue, not a play.
  4. You can visit Wikipedia, or use Google, and even some of the links on this site to quickly get a sense of my work.
  5. This one is for the old-schoolers: If you cut me, I always bleed six colors.

That pretty much sums up the problems Daisey is having with the flood of publicity surrounding his one-man show about Apple's (AAPL) CEO, scheduled to open next January at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The program notes describe Steve Jobs as a "real-life Willy Wonka," which may be where the tech press went off the rails.

In fact, Daisey is a veteran actor with a long and funny track record.

He's been doing extemporaneous off-Broadway monologues since he mounted his autobiographical "Wasting Your Breath" in Seattle in 1997. His breakthrough came with "21 Dog Years" (2001), an account of the two years he spent in the trenches at Amazon.com (AMZN) that earned him national attention, a book contract and a spot on David Letterman (see below).

Several Daisey monologues, including "21 Dog Years," are available as audiobooks on iTunes. To get a sense for what he might do with the life of a guy like Steve Jobs, check out "Great Men of Genius," his four-part homage to Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and (ahem) L. Ron Hubbard.

Below: Mike Daisey's appearance on The David Letterman Show.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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