For a city that claims to be very business-based, all networking and game-changing, Washington, D.C. might seem an odd choice for the premiere of “American Utopias,” a piece created by and starring Mike Daisey and focusing on different places in American society, from Burning Man, to the Occupy Wall Street movement, to the all-powerful Disneyworld. From the moment Daisey settles into the chair that he will speak from for approximately the next two hours, he captivates the audience’s attention, immediately luring them in with the promise of side-splitting laughter from just his first sentence. Hardly stopping to take a breath, let alone a sip from the cup of water that sits untouched on his desk, Daisey speaks to you like you are friends from the moment he takes his seat, sharing stories about his family and friends and causing the audience to roar with laughter.
From a distance the topics might not seem to correlate, but when Daisey approaches them they flow together seamlessly, one long belly roll between topics. For a time Occupy Wall Street seemed a bit unrelated, but as Daisey began to deliver the real punchlines of the night, the puzzle pieces began to click together. Not only does Daisey get you laughing, he also gets you thinking. What is our ideal? Our utopia? What questions have we avoided because they are the hard ones?
As his grand finale, Daisey walks off stage and compels you to follow him, wondering if the show is over, and you are going to a meet and greet, or what exactly is going on. Instead, he continues out the theatre doors to the corner, and climbs upon a plain black box. And compels you to really think about yourself and your own actions. Will you take action, or will you be complacent? Will you make a difference? Here is where the connection to D.C. lies. We all work careers that claim to be powerful, important. Perhaps even to make a difference. But do we ever really get our hands dirty?
Not merely comedy, Daisey is an act not to be missed. He might offend you; he will definitely make you laugh. And he might
even challenge you to think about your own life and choices.
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