One-man show to depict Steve Jobs' career

Monologist Mike Daisey will address the "rise and fall and rise" of Steve Jobs in a performance scheduled for next year at a repertory theater in Berkeley, Calif.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Mike Daisey
Mike Daisey is scheduled to perform the monologue, 'The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,' early next year. Mike Daisey

Monologist Mike Daisey plans to perform at the Berkeley (Calif.) Repertory Theatre early next year in a monologue called, "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."

Although details are fairly scant right now, the theater wrote on its site that the monologue will "dive into the epic story of a real-life Willy Wonka whose personal obsessions profoundly affect our everyday lives." Daisey will also travel "to China where millions toil in factories to create iPhones and iPods."

On his home page, Daisey specifically addressed tech journalists (that would be me, I guess) who have apparently been getting it wrong. In addition to telling them (us) how his name is spelled (not Daisy), he explained that he will not be playing the "role" of 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," Daisey wrote.

Daisey, who The New York Times said has a knack for elegantly blending "personal stories, historical digressions and philosophical ruminations," has covered a broad range of topics throughout the years. One of his most-popular monologues, "21 Dog Years," covered life as an employee of Amazon.com during the dot-com bubble burst.

Although Daisey hasn't divulged exactly what will be included in the Steve Jobs monologue, his brief description portends a more critical depiction than perhaps Apple fans or Jobs himself might like.

Whether that will happen remains to be seen. If you want to see what Daisey actually says, you can see him perform the monologue between January 14 and February 27, 2011.

Editor's note, March 19, 2012: "This American Life" announced late last week that it's retracting a story it did recently about working conditions at Foxconn that included an interview with Mike Daisey as well as an excerpt from his monologue "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." It said it was doing so because of "numerous fabrications" it found. CNET's Josh Lowensohn has the details in this story. Daisey's own statement is on his Web site. A recent investigative report by The New York Times looks at working conditions in Apple's supply chain in China.