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Friday, March 26, 2010

Mike Daisey throttles American consumerism in The Last Cargo Cult

click to enlarge SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Mike Daisey performing 'The Last Cargo Cult'
  • SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Mike Daisey performing 'The Last Cargo Cult'

A great wall of cardboard boxes looms over the rear of the performing space for The Last Cargo Cult at the Alliance Hertz Stage. Displaying brand names such as Federal Express and Crate & Barrel, the edifice of packing material neatly represents American consumerism. While waiting for the show to begin, I imagined monologist Mike Daisey – who's not an insubstantial performer – would enter by smashing through the wall of containers, like the Kool-Aid man.

In fact, Daisey simply walks out from the wings. Through the course of The Last Cargo Cult, though, Daisey symbolically smashes U.S. materialism, the greed of high finance, and the hunger for IKEA furniture that propped up the system until the global economic slump. Daisey, like an alchemist who turns dross into gold, finds uproarious humor while portraying the 2008 financial meltdown as the moral and fiscal equivalent of 9/11.

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(Photo by Stan Barouh)

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