The Last Cargo Cult—Theatre

Imagine settling down in one’s seat in a darkened theatre and listening to the rants of a comedic Orson Welles. Such was my experience at Mike Daisey’s,The Last Cargo Cult, at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Mike Daisey, creator and performer, is pure genius…bitingly funny, actor extraordinaire…without ever getting out of his chair…and did I say, bitingly funny? Oh, I did. But I can’t say it enough. (And he does bear a strong resemblance to Orson Welles in stature and performance.)

Daisey comes to the set, which is wonderfully decorated in all kinds shipping packages, dressed in black pants and shirt, shoes and socks. He seats his short, heavy-set body behind a desk which with notes in hand (to which he never refers) and a glass of water. He’s yet to speak and he’s already sweating. He puts his notes on the desk and takes out his black handkerchief to mop his face (it’s his only other prop) and the storytelling begins.

Last Cargo Cult is about the power of money…about its raw power…about its liquid power. Daisey starts with the idea that “culture is built around awesome shit” and it’s all downhill from there. So begins our strange tour, accompanying him from Maine to college…to NYC…to the Hamptons…to the South Pacific.

Daisey is mad, angry and concerned about the future. And if we weren’t before, we are, too, by the time we leave the theatre.

Because his show is unscripted, it’s never the same every night and it’s possible the mood and response of the audience can have some affect. Whatever the affect, The Last Cargo Cult will have you laughing and thinking at the same time and that’s the best thing about a night at the theatre.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004


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