The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

The Human Price of Technology

Master storyteller, Mike Daisey, has just returned to Berkeley Rep in The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.  With his wry eye and eccentric intellect, Daisey examines how the Apple CEO and his obsessions profoundly shape our everyday lives; and he travels to China to investigate the factories where millions toil making i-phones and i-pods.  His journey shines a brilliant light on how our love affair with our devices and the human cost of creating them.

All throughout, Daisey's scintillating two-hour nonstop monologue, he is seated behind his little table flanked by Seth Reiser's impressive lighting design on the back wall of the theatre.  According to Berkeley Rep's Artistic Director Tony Taccone, Daisey "combines the hysteria of a comedian, the intelligence of an essayist, the intensity of an actor and the desperation of a raconteur."

In the Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Mike Daisey takes us on a tour of three cities in China where workers in the tech industry literally put their lives on the line for the privilege of having a job.  This storyteller comes equipped with his tools of emphasis and tone with metaphor and irony, and with much embellishment and humor, to get us to see things in a new light.  This newest monologue directed by his wife, Jean-Michele Gregory, has as its main focus, the rise and fall, and rise of Steve Jobs, Apple, industrial design and the human price we are willing to pay for our technology, woven together in a complex narrative.  According to Daisey, this monologue is a perfect example of years of journalism, travel, research, investigation, sweat and tears.  It examines our technology through a personal lens.  Mike Daisey share his experiences in Hong Kong and Shen Zhen and Apple's labor practices.  However, Apple is hardly alone--every major electronics manufacturer uses the same inhumane labor practices in the creation of their products.  Daisey's main concern is to make people aware of labor conditions in China and the systems we have created to feed it.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs will alternate in repertory with his other monologue, The Last Cargo Cult. Performances will take place through February 27 at Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley. Performances are held Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Sunday at 7 p.m.; and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets and information, call 510-647-2949 or go online at