This preview has been provided by Duke Performances.

Duke Performances will host a five-night run of a new play by Mike Daisey — the renowned monologist who gained notoriety for the controversy surrounding his play The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs — from Wednesday, January 30, through Sunday, February 3, at PSI Theatre in the Durham Arts Council at 120 Morris Street in downtown Durham.

In the tradition of Spalding Gray and other storytellers working in the American theater, Mike Daisey has created over a dozen monologues since 1997; passionate, insightful, and often hilarious, his plays combine research, field reporting, and personal experience to explore topics such as inventor Nikola Tesla, Apple computers, the Department of Homeland Security, the history of the New York transit system, September 11, and Walmart. His plays include The Last Cargo Cult, How Theater Failed America, the twenty-four-hour long All the Hours in the Day, All Stories Are Fiction, the four-part epic Great Men of Genius, 21 Dog Years, and The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.

Daisey’s newest piece, American Utopias, which opened in November 2012 in Chicago, has been praised as “Enthralling and supremely theatrical with incomparable comic verve” by the Chicago Sun Times. The Chicago Tribune says the play is “superb” and that Daisey is “a keen cultural observer with a ruthless streak.” And Time Out Chicago say of it “masterful and bombastically funny … a voluble and valuable raconteur.”

In American Utopias, Daisey examines American visions of ideal public spaces, as he says “how we create civic spaces for ourselves in which we act out our dreams of a better world.” Engaging first the anarchic excess of the Burning Man Festival, then the manicured dream-world of Walt Disney World and closing with a look at Zuccotti Park and the birth of the Occupy Movement, the play encompasses raving animatronic presidents, brutal police actions, gunplay, and more to paint a hilarious and heartbreaking landscape of the American dream.

While in Durham, Daisey will be engaged in several artist-in-residence activities, including a free and open to the public conversation about the Occupy Movement and Daisey’s work on American Utopias on Monday, February 4, at 7 pm at Man Bites Dog Theater at 703 Foster Street. Daisey will discuss his work with Duke Law professor Jedediah Purdy and Duncan Murrell, writer in residence at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. This conversation is free and open to the public.

Mike Daisey performs American Utopias Wednesday, January 30, through Saturday, February 2, at 8:15 pm and Sunday, February 3, at 3:15 pm at PSI Theatre in the Durham Arts Council in Downtown Durham at 120 Morris Street. Tickets are on sale now and available online at, by phone at 919-684-4444, or in person at the Duke University Box office in the Bryan Center.