After watching the Bucknell production of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs I had a couple of takeaways. First, I was overall pleased with the performance. I thought that Alex Lyras did a great job convincing the audience that this was a personal story that he himself had experienced and was sharing with an audience (similar to Daisey himself). However, despite being slightly contradictory to my praise for Lyras’ performance, the part of Bucknell’s production that I really valued was the unreal/untrue section of the performance. While Bucknell and Lyras did not try to display Mike Daisey’s performance as realistic and factual like Daisey himself did, they also did not represent it as fully artistic. Instead the performers took an extremely factual view about Apple’s manufacturing plant conditions. Added into Lyras’ performance is more background about Apple as a company, and during the questionable parts of Mike Daisey’s story Lyras freezes and multiple performers dressed as scientists come onto the stage and elaborate on whether or not the claims Daisey made or were true or false. The “scientists” provided evidence towards their argument on each point, often in the form of quotes and multimedia. I really enjoyed this method of displaying Daisey’s story because it allowed for the emotion and entertainment from Daisey’s original story to be combined with factuality and accuracy.
In my opinion the crucial change that needs to be made in order to resolve these working condition problems is that technology producers need to move labor back to the homefront where proper working conditions and safety are legally ensured. I am not speaking about just Apple either, as seen in the Mike Daisey play many technology companies are using just Foxconn specifically for their manufacturing purposes. This point was something that really stood out to me the first time I listened to Daisey’s performance. In other industries, manufacturers have begun shifting production back into the United States with great results. The primary example that comes to mind is the auto industry where companies like Toyota and Tesla are paving an American auto manufacturing resurgence.
As we discussed in class domestic production is not a cost issue for Apple. Apple products could be produced in the U.S. for only slightly more. There is a void for a technology company based around the values of proper working conditions and domestic manufacturing. But, my final question, is what would be better for the people of China: to have these current jobs at companies like Foxconn that are accused of being inhumane and unsafe, or having these jobs taken away and moved back to the United States?