The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at Waterloo East
“You won’t forget that … because tonight is a virus … it is inside of you, just like it’s inside of me, twisting and wriggling. And when these lights come up, when this theatrical construct falls away, it will still be in you.”
For 90 minutes, Edward Fromson is alone on the stage and delivers quite a performance. He never stops talking, swamping us with facts we usually don’t want to hear. But he is amazed and outraged along with the audience, which makes this flood of information all the more interesting, and impossible to ignore. His story? The rise of Apple from the beginning, and the not so hidden face of its success.
You’re sitting in your seat, in the warmth of Waterloo East Theatre, but really you’re in Silicon Valley or worse, in Shenzhen, China, “where almost all of your shit comes from”. And you realise that in your pocket, at home, or even on your skin, you have an object made by people deprived of human rights. Then questions pop loudly into your head: are we contributing to these people’s fate? Can we do something about it? Everything is made there, but how do we live without these things we “need”? In order not to feel guilty, we begin to persuade ourselves that perhaps it’s not the truth; this is theatre – it’s probably fictional. As if he is in your head, Edward Fromson steps in, goading: “Maybe what I’m telling you is not the truth. Maybe your iPhone has been made by Oompa Loompas who live in an enchanting world.”
Whether you’re an Apple aficionado or not, Mike Daisey’s The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is a slap in the face, forcing us to understand things we already know but refuse to see. This intriguing play debuted in Portland, Oregon in 2010, and has since been translated into six languages, with more than 40 productions all around the world. The original version of the show faced a lot of controversy, which lead Daisey to rework his monologue to this new version, dubbed Version 2.0. The play is royalty-free and downloadable on his webpage, encouraging everyone to “spread the virus” – and Daisey may succeed.
The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is on at Waterloo East Theatre until 24th February 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.