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Shows Worth Seeing:

If You See Something Say Something

By Mike Daisey
Joe's Pub at The Theatre
425 Lafayette St.

Mike Daisey is carving out an impressive identity as a monologuist. Lately, some high profile critics have taken to comparing him to Spalding Gray, which is meant as a compliment but actually misrepresents the tenor of his work. Gray was all ego—handsome, neurotic, fascinatingly digressive, always compelling, but nevertheless a monster of self-regard. Daisey is the opposite—an amiable, slightly pushy, profusely sweating fat man who trades on intelligence, precision and the self-sacrificial humiliation of the clown. Daisey tells incisive stories drawn from personal experiences and born of political rage. His wonderful, previous monologue, How Theater Failed America, was about the pointlessness and self-betrayal of most of what passes for legitimate theater in the United States. His current show, If You See Something Say Something, is about erosion of civil rights and privacy due to our out-of-control national security apparatus. Thankfully, Daisey avoids a purely Bush-bashing approach, tracing the encroachment on rights back to the early Cold War and the failure of the United States to disarm after World War II. Much of the monologue is organized around his experience visiting the site of the original Trinity blast at Los Alamos on the one day of the year it is open to the public. Daisey turns run-of-the-mill, everyday absurdities into politically resonant ironies, leaving you hungering for his next observations about them. He is shrewd without being smug, compelling and energetic without pleading for love or otherwise trying too hard. It’s a very potent mix of theatrical ingredients that deserves to be seen and savored.

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