Two-time Spoleto veteran and monologuist Mike Daisey got a faceful of rejection last Thursday night when, only a few minutes into his show Invincible Summer, 87 members of the audience decided, all at once, that they were out like Sanjaya. On the way out, one of them dumped a bottle of water (Daisey’s, no less) on his notes. As I noted here, the self-identified Christian group turned out to be high schoolers and their chaperones who objected to some of the less-G-Rated content in Daisey’s show, which I’ve already mentioned, so I won’t go into it again. Okay, fine, it was about fucking Paris Hilton (Note: Daisey makes no claims, verifiable or otherwise, to have done this).
Daisey, who’s a fairly prolific blogger himself, shared the experience with his readership and fan base the day after it happened, complete with a 10-minute videotape of the walkout and its aftermath. As a result, he apparently also got a faceful of Web 2.0 circa 2007. Playbill.com reported on the event , as did Backstage, the Harvard Crimson, and even the Orlando Sentinel. Bloggers — pro-theatre, anti-Christian, and everything in-between — swarmed over the story, raising high-profile posts at places like Daily Kos, Digg, BoingBoing, Culturebot, and Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch. As a result, Daisey’s says he’s been deluged with thousands of supportive e-mails, which (full disclosure) would include mine.
But rather than bask in the new media spotlight or snuggle up to sympathetic fans, Daisey had other priorities: tracking down the chaperones and the person who’d doused his notes for a calm, adult conversation about what happened and why. He eventually did connect with them on Tuesday, by telephone, but it wasn’t easy. Read his account of the whole thing here. Water-man was contrite, to say the least.
Granted, we’re hearing only Daisey’s side of the conversation, but speaking as someone who’s seen several of Daisey’s monologues, including Invincible Summer, and spent a little time speaking with him over beers, I can say his version rings true. Congrats, Mike, on handling a contentious issue and a needlessly humiliating affront with class, civility, and — a rarity in these bitterly ideological times — respect.