Last night I went to a performance by a monologuist named Mike Daisey. He did a show called The Ugly American about his experiences studying theater abroad in London, and it was fantastic. If you ever get a chance to see this guy, you should definitely go. He was by turns very, very funny, and very, very intense. Possibly the most surprising moment was when he came out for his bow. He was sitting the entire show behind a desk, where he had a glass of water and some notes, and because of his skill, he was able to present the image of exactly who he was...but then when he took his bow, at the end of the show, after I'd been staring at him for 2 hours, all of a sudden I saw him as I would have seen him if I passed him on the street, a less true image than what I'd been seeing during the show. He was just a short, fat, doughy, ordinary white guy, and not someone I ever would have expected to be that fascinating on stage. It was yet another lesson not to write people off based on appearances.
The show hung together really well, and he didn't pull his punches - he talked about some really disturbing things, and he didn't try to sugarcoat anything to make it easier on the audience. There was also some hilarious commentary on theater, such as a really amusing riff on the idea of "challenging" theater being something people don't always want to see even if they say they do (an issue that hits home with Spoleto audiences, trust me.) Apparently he has a book out, which I plan on investigating.
Tonight will either be watching Alias with some friends or going to a Xenakis percussion concert. Haven't decided yet.