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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Defy convention


created & performed by Mike Daisey
directed by Jean-Michele Gregory

January 11 – February 7, 2010

Appropriate for ages 14 and up.
Running Time: 1hr 45min (no intermission)


PERFORMANCE CANCELLATION INFORMATION: Our Friday and Saturday night performances have been cancelled. However, our Sunday 2:00pm and 7:00pm will go on as scheduled. If you had a reservation to either of the cancelled performances, or a reservation to the Sunday shows and cannot safely make it to Woolly, you have a pair of options:

  • Attend the Monday night 8:00pm performance. This is a new performance we have added for patrons affected by the weather, and some seats remain available. This will be the final performance of The Last Cargo Cult, as our next show must open on Wednesday.
  • Attend a performance later in the season. We have three shows remaining in our 2009-2010 season: Barack Stars, Clybourne Park or  Gruesome Playground Injuries. You may exchange your reservation into any of those productions. Money spent on your Last Cargo Cult reservation will be applied toward a future order.
Our Box Office will reopen at 12:00 noon on Sunday, and can be reached at (202) 393-3939. We expect a heavy volume of calls; please bear with us as we get to them as fast as we can. You may also email with your exchange requests or other questions.

OverviewWho's whoSchedule and PricesAdditional Info


About the Show

Fearless autobiographer and gonzo journalist Mike Daisey returns with the story of his journey to a remote South Pacific island whose people worship America and its cargo at the base of a constantly erupting volcano. Part adventure story and part memoir, this narrative is woven against a searing examination of the international financial crisis that gripped the globe at the same moment. Using each culture to illuminate the other, Daisey wrestles with the largest questions of what the collapse means, and what it can tell us about our deepest values.

“What’s undeniable is that you are in the presence of an original.”

“... May constitute the finest hour ever devised – make that two hours – by Daisey.”

“Finally, the banking system has met its match.”

“... The inimitable Mike Daisey harnesses pervasive contempt and uses it to fuel a divine rant.”

“... We’ve got Daisey rumbling and churning like some active volcano, trying to rattle us out of our sense of complacency."
The Washington Post

“He has a rare aptitude for distilling complicated matters into relatable human moments.”
The Examiner

“Every time he pounds his fist or barks a thundering punchline, it seems more of Earth opens up to us.”
DC Theatre Scene

“He goes global with the sort of hyperbolic, hilariously provocative rant that channels both
Michael Moore and Lewis Black.”
Washington City Paper

Engaging, funny and incredibly thought-provoking.

Click here to buy tickets...


Who's Who



MIKE DAISEY(Creator and Performer) has been called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by the New York Times for his groundbreaking monologues which weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance to tell hilarious and heartbreaking stories that cut to the bone, exposing secret histories and unexpected connections.  His monologues include last season’s critically acclaimed If You See Something Say Something, the controversial How Theater Failed America, the six-hour epic Great Men of Genius, the unrepeatable series All Stories Are Fiction, and the international sensation 21 Dog Years.  Over the last decade he has brought his work to venues including the Public Theater, the Cherry Lane Theater, the Barrow Street Theatre, Yale Repertory Theater, the Spoleto Festival, American Repertory Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Center Theater Group, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Noorderzon Festival, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Perseverance Theatre, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Intiman Theatre, the Under the Radar Festival, Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts, Performance Space 122, and many more.  He’s been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, as well as a commentator and contributor to Studio 360, WIRED, Vanity Fair, Slate, Salon, WNYC and the BBC.  His first film, Layover, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and a feature film of his monologue If You See Something Say Something will be released next year.  His first book, 21 Dog Years: A Cubedweller’s Tale, was published by the Free Press and his second book, a collected anthology of his monologues, will be published by TCG in the fall of 2010.  He has been nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama League Awards, and has been the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, four Seattle Times Footlight Awards, the EST/Sloan Galileo Prize, and a MacDowell Fellowship.


JEAN-MICHELE GREGORY(Director) works as a director, editor, and dramaturg, focusing on unscripted, extemporaneous theatrical works that live in the moment they are told.  Working primarily with solo artists, for the last decade she has collaborated with monologist Mike Daisey, directing at venues across the globe including the Public Theater, the Barrow Street Theatre, the Cherry Lane Theater, Center Theater Group, the Under the Radar Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Chicago’s Museum for Contemporary Art, American Repertory Theatre, the Spoleto Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Noorderzon Festival, Intiman Theatre, ACT Theatre, Performance Space 122, the T:BA Festival, and many more.  She also works with New York storyteller Martin Dockery (Wanderlust, The Surprise) and the Seattle-based performer and writer Suzanne Morrison (Yoga Bitch, Your Own Personal Alcatraz).  Her productions have received three Seattle Times Footlight Awards (21 Dog Years, The Ugly American, Monopoly!), the Bay Area Critics Circle Award (Great Men of Genius), and nominations from the Drama League and Outer Critics Circle (If You See Something Say Something).


Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm and 7pm
(no 2pm performance Jan. 17), plus one Tuesday 8pm show on Jan. 26.

Special performance dates:

  • Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC): Mon, Jan. 11 & Tues, Jan. 12 at 8pm
    Tickets sold at 6:30pm each evening, two per person, cash/check only. Lines begin forming between 5-5:30pm. Performances typically sell out.
  • Meet-the-Artists Discussions: following performances on Wed, Jan. 20, Sun, Jan. 24 (2pm), and Thurs, Jan. 28.
    Wed, Jan. 20: Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary, Representative from the Embassy of Australia, and an Anthropologist from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
    Sun, Jan. 24: Miriam Weisfeld, Woolly Mammoth's Director of New Play Development
    Thurs, Jan. 28: TBA


Previews, 1st week: $25

Regular price: All performances $30



Click here for exact dates and prices...


Additional Information:


“How does Mike Daisey do it? Show after show, he spins a new true story that has us screaming with laughter and gasping at his caustic insight. We’re bringing him back for the third time because this next story is something you absolutely must hear. Among a people fascinated by American power but outside the reach of the global economy, Mike looks for a new way to understand our own financial dysfunction. We couldn’t be more thrilled to make his story a part of Season 30 at Woolly Mammoth.” Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director

"A year after the financial crisis began to spin out of control we still have no real answers about what the collapse means. The news cycle constantly urges us not to think too deeply on it. Today our banks are running record-breaking profits once again, unemployment is surging, and real work is running dry. We are told this is the face of the recovery. Perhaps it is. But a recovery for whom? This new piece asks the most important questions about the shape of the religion of finance, our complicity in the system we breathe every day, and the true human cost we pay to keep things the way they are. It is an adventure story, a memoir, a travelogue, and a kind of prayer for the possibility of change. It is set on an island in the South Pacific, where I lived beneath an erupting volcano with a people just beyond the reach of money. It is also set on the island of Manhattan, where Wall Street opens every day to establish the price of all the things of man that can be owned." – Mike Daisey


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Mike Daisey, photos by Stan Barouh

Woolly Mammoth would like to thank the following patrons for their generous support of The Last Cargo Cult:

Patricia G. Butler
James C. Byrnes
Melissa & Michael Galetto
Paige Lance Hahn & Alex Hahn
Chas Hausheer & Sheila Sweeney
David & Hope Kosier
Darrell Smith & Tom Turnbull


Show Art Concept & Design:
Carolyn Sewell Design