Steve Jobs play will end Actors Guild’s current season

Updated at 3:56 p.m. March 16 to reflect news developments regarding This American Life’s broadcast of Mr. Daisey Visits the Apple Factory.

Actors Guild of Lexington announced its final show of its 2011-12 season Tuesday, and it almost feels wrong to write this on a PC: The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs by Mike Daisey.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds a new iPhone at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June 2010. (c) AP photo by Paul Sakuma.

Actors Guild of Lexington artistic director Eric Seale will star in the monologue show, which will be directed by Larry Snipes, producing director of Lexington Children’s Theatre. The show, playing May 10 to 20 at AGL’s South Elkhorn Village Theatre, is a monologue following the career of Jobs, the iconic founder or Apple who died last year after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Daisey has given more than 200 performances of the monologue in 19 cities over 18 months. An abridged version of the monologue was presented on the public radio show This American Life in January, highlighting portions that focused on the working conditions in Chinese factories that make Apple products.

However, on Friday, This American Life issued a retraction of Daisey’s piece because it “contained significant fabrications” and “we can’t vouch for its truth.” The show planned to devote the most recent episode, which airs at 8 p.m. Friday (March 16, 2012) and noon Saturday on WEKU-88.9 FM and will air at 4 p.m. Sunday on WUKY-91.3 FM, to the retraction. Host Ira Glass was scheduled to talk with Daisey “about why he misled This American Life during the fact-checking process,” according to TAL’s website.

Friday afternoon, Seale said, “Mike daisey is a storyteller, he isn’t a journalist.

“It’s not like making up what FoxConn does,” he added, referring to the electronics manufacturing company that makes many Apple devices, as well as other electronic products. “He has portrayed the actual larger situation that’s going on. He’s not writing a newspaper story. This sounds like people really struggling to discredit something.

“He wrote a play. That’s what we’re doing, a play. It doesn’t change my feeling that this is an incredibly important thing we should be doing.”

In February, Daisey made rights to the show available royalty free to any theater that wants to present it. Actors Guild will be among the first to stage the show.

To Seale, it validates the practice of waiting well into the season to announce the last show, “so that we can present something literally ripped from today’s headlines.”

Seale said he called Snipes because he was a Lexington Children’s Theatre alum who never got to be directed by Snipes.

“We had talked about him doing something at Actors Guild,” Seale said. “So when this opportunity came along, I called him, and he was totally on board.”

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