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When I found out that Mike Daisey was going to be performing at this year's Live Arts Festival, I got super excited. I'd been wanting to see his monologue How Theatre Failed America for quite some time. And the things he had to say in that show really resonated with me.
I have to admit, I was a bit less interested in The Last Cargo Cult, until I learned what a cargo cult is. Daisey's monologue details his time spent living among the last cargo cult on the island of Tanna, who worship John Frum, a perhaps mythological figure who went to the island during WWII. The people who worship John Frum believe him to be a messiah, who will bring them wealth and other American goodies if they follow him. Daisey ties his experiences with the cargo cult into the current mess that is the financial market and leads his audience to think long and hard about this thing called money and why we value it—and our stuff—so much.
A kind of modern day Homer, minus the blindness, lyre, and dactylic hexameter, Daisey is a thoroughly engaging storyteller. He blends humor with poignant, spot on commentary, making you laugh and while you're laughing, actually think about what's going on. Both his monologues have closed now, but I really hope he comes back next year.