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The Playwrights Forum > General > Take the Stage > Fabrication and "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"

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Fabrication and "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Mar 17th, 2012 07:23 pm
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QuixotesGhost
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Mana: 
A friend of mine just sent me this interesting article:

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/160839-Chicago-Agony-and-the-Ecstasy-of-Steve-Jobs-Canceled-After-Mike-Daiseys-Work-Called-Into-Question#.T2OebFIbo-k.twitter

I've read most of the script, and have heard the NPR broadcast that the news article refers to. A completely fictional account of ,say, a soldier's service in Iraq is something that might be common in a play (such as A Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo). I'm .however, of the opinion that despite the fact it's meant to be delivered before an audience,The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is in fact an essay - with Agony Mike Daisey is a theatrical essayist - and it should be held to higher standards than typical theatrical productions.

I'd say that the most likely story, if Daisey's interpeter is to be trusted - that Daisey never actually visited the Foxconn plant, is that Daisey gathered sources and then constructed a fictional account of what a visit might be like based on those sources. How much he embellished and where though is where the sticking point lies.

I will also mention, though I can't possibly see how this could be Mr. Daisy's fault, I started listening to the NPR broadcast halfway through and assumed it was an account from an NPR journalist.

I'm curious what you think about this issue.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 17th, 2012 09:17 pm
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Louisep at Playwrights Muse
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Mana: 
I saw the show, and from the way Daisey talked, I thought he was telling a true story. I feel lied to.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 18th, 2012 03:52 pm
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QuixotesGhost
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Mana: 
To play devil's advocate for a moment:

There's a line that Jorge Luis Borges opens his short story "The Book of Sand" with:

"To say that the story is true is by now a convention of every fantastic tale; mine, nevertheless; is true." The story that Borges then tells is obviously not true; or maybe more precisely, not true in the way that we normally think of "true", but true in other respects.

Likewise, from the article, the statement from the Public Theatre, "In the theatre, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth -- that's what a storyteller does, that's what a dramatist does."

Also additionally, the popularity of the monologue has apparently improved conditions at the Foxconn plant.

The question I wanted to ask was: Where does dramatic license end and fabrication begin? Are there other works that you can think of that have straddled this line or crossed it completely?

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 Posted: Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 08:15 pm
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Louisep at Playwrights Muse
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Mana: 
Apparently not all of David Sedaris's stories are factual. I feel lied to by him, too.

There's this great documentary "Shakespeare Behind Bars," about inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Center in Kentucky, doing The Tempest. This is a documentary, mind. But I found out that when they edited the film, they took one event that happened at the beginning of the time they were filming, and they inserted it near the end. They thought audiences would care more about this one inmate not getting parole if the audiences had seen more of the inmate.

Sorry. Documentary is documentary. It already does enough to show some things that are going on, and not others.

With all due respect to the Public, they're confusing medium with genre. A story of any kind that's presented as completely factual, has to be factual, whether it's in the theater, or on film, or in a book.

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