Open Letters to Mr. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Mike Daisey in THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne.

These open letters to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, were written by participants in the Fall 2011 Theater Teen Reviewers and Critics program after attending a performance of THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS at The Public Theater, one of our cultural partners.  At the end of Mike Daisey’s performance, fliers are distributed with information about Apple’s labor practices, which  he discusses in the show, along with Tim Cook’s email address and a call to action.  Mr. Daisey suggested emailing Mr. Cook with concerns and comments, in light of the situation at Apple.  He politely asked that we do not send SPAM.  We obliged, and decided to publish them as open letters here as well.

Below are excerpts from the letters, with links to the full text:

“Daisey was successful in dispensing the truths behind the production of technology’s latest products, the emphasis being on Apple. I was ignorant of the manpower that fueled the production, distribution and satisfaction of the hungry masses. They are tired. The workers are tired.” –Carina Clores

Read CARINA’s full letter.

“Mr. Cook, you can help make Apple even better in Steve Jobs’ wake. Even if he’s gone, you can help the company’s reputation, their policies, their products. You can do this by forcing plants to stop hiring underage workers. You can do this by forcing plants to pay overtime and set a maximum amount of hours to be worked each week. You can do this by helping better the work conditions, by making Apple products clean instead of allowing them to be covered in the blood of thousands of overworked innocents.” – Cecilia Kim

Read CECILIA’s full letter.

“Apple has long shone as a beacon of inspiration for tech geeks everywhere. Unfortunately, as more and more people learn of the methods by which your beloved products are made, more and more of us feel like Apple has let us down. I’d love to see Apple as an unstoppable force of good, a shining beacon of hope for ALL people, all around the world.” – Logan Erickson

Read LOGAN’s full letter.

“I know I’m only one person and Apple has billions of other brainwashed people, but I solemnly swear I am never buying another Apple product until the end of time. Not only are they overpriced, (I mean really, $1200 for a laptop?) but I would feel too much guilt using it […] I still use my iPod Touch 3rd Gen. but I don’t plan on getting another updated version and I haven’t updated to iOS 5.” – Sean Scotto

Read SEAN’s full letter.

“Apple is a giant company now that has a responsibility, not only to shareholders or even customers, but to the world. Being large enough to influence history is to hold a huge responsibility. Perpetuating the class divisions and supporting exploitation only traps the people below you in their respective economic classes. – Lucian Li

Read LUCIAN’s full letter.

The New York Times has also run a series of recent articles detailing Apple’s labor situation in China:  check them out here and here.  Also, Mike Daisey’s website has a wealth of information and ongoing dialogues with people responding to his show, the Times articles, and the THIS AMERICAN LIFE episode he was recently featured in.  Check it all out.

Dear Mr. Tim Cook

Top: Tim Cook and Steve Jobs; photo credit to James Martin/CNET. Bottom: Mike Daisey at the Public Theater; photo credit to Mike Daisey.

[Editors’ Note:  This letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is one of several written by participants in the Fall 2011 Theater Teen Reviewers and Critics program after attending a performance of THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS at the Public Theater.  At the end of Mike’s Daisey’s solo performance, fliers are distributed with information about the labor practices he discusses in the show, along with Tim Cook’s email address and a call to action.  Mr. Daisey suggested emailing Mr. Cook with concerns.  He politely asks that you do not send SPAM.  We obliged, and decided to publish them as open letters as well.]


Dear Mr. Cook,

Every time I use my newly bought iPhone 4, I see blood on the immaculate touch screen. I am seventeen years old. And if I were born in the special economic zone of the Chinese city Shenzhen, it’s very likely that I would be working in an assembly factory, say Foxconn, putting together one of the most popular technological devices for first world countries. Mike Daisey’s THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS opened my eyes to this all too horrific possibility. [Read more…]

On The Corner of Maple and Vine

Marin Ireland and Jeanine Serralles in "Maple and Vine". Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich.

Katha lies awake in bed, unable to fall back asleep. The screech of cars, their loud neighbors, the soft rush of the sound of nature (must-haves for all insomniacs) echo in the small theater at Playwrights Horizons and Katha, played by the vivid Marin Ireland, lies awake in the middle of this all, unable to go back to sleep. Maple and Vine, written by Jordan Harrison and directed by Anne Kauffman, follows the life of a burnt-out editor at a publishing house who had recently suffered a miscarriage. She moves through her normal life as if in a dream, awkwardly acting out the motions of modern day domestic life with her husband, Ryu (Peter Kim), a soft-spoken plastic surgeon.

[Read more…]

Words with a Mime: Interviewing Rebecca Baumwoll

The theatre is empty and the sterile fluorescent lights reveal an ordinary scuffed stage; it’s difficult to believe that an entire show had occurred on that very stage only minutes ago, transforming the entire theatre into world of possibilities. The Broken Box Mime Theatre has brought its latest creation, Words Don’t Work, to the Fringe Festival and I was fortunate enough to catch a word or two with the artistic director of Broken Box Mime Theatre after the show.

H5R: So how did this troupe get started, Broken Box Theatre?

RB: I went to Tufts University with a bunch of other people who are now in the troupe and we were part of a mime troupe there called HYPE! Mime Troupe and it was totally student run. When I graduated last year in 2010, I moved to the city to be an actress and knew that this should be part of my life so I organized this company and got in touch with Brian, who’s our producer. He graduated three years before me, Brian Smith, and is now a professional producer in the city. He had also had in mind to continue the work of HYPE! Mime Troupe, so we decided to get going on it. He learned about the Fringe application, I gathered up the people from HYPE! who’d be interested in continuing the work—and everything just snowballed from there.

H5R: So what would say was the easiest part, getting this all together, and the hardest part?

RB: The easiest part of getting it together is finding people who are passionate about this work. It’s so unusual and so bizarre and so fun—and it allows the actor to work on whatever we want. Like, if I’m in the mood to be in a Spanish soap opera, let’s just write it, you know, it’s that kind of thing. So people were really excited to be a part of it and I think that more people after seeing the show—we have a lot of people interested in auditioning. So that was the easiest part. The hardest part is figuring out how to take this step for me, personally, to learn how to make it a business. And we’re still just learning—Brian has been my mentor in that because he’s been in the professional industry much longer than I have. But those are just the small things—who’s gonna take care of this, who’s gonna take care of that, what’s who’s responsibility and how do we go forward in a professional way, and to be able to keep our creative voice alive, keep it a creative company through and through.

H5R: Would you say that that would be the mission statement of your troupe? [Read more…]

High 5 Interviews Emily Jablonski

We walk into the quiet teashop together and Emily Jablonski promptly orders a cup of coffee. She had been overseeing a last minute rehearsal only hours before and confided that she needed a little boost. Jablonski is the director of the mash-up musical Gleeam, which combines the hit show Glee and the horror film classic Scream that has made it up from Washington D.C. to New York under the guidance of the Landless Theatre Co. A few hours before the NY premiere at the Fringe Festival, I got a chance to talk with her a little about the musical and herself.

The High 5 Review:  So, why Glee, why Scream, what is this musical really about?

EJ: Okay, so Glee and Scream, Gleeam I should say, was part of—well the people who made it was the Landless Theatre Company and back in January we did a thing called the Mash-Up Festival and it took four or eight different things and combined them into mash-ups. So we had All That Jaws, which combined Chicago and Jaws; PeeWee’s Big Side of Adventure, Tarzanadoo and then Gleeam. Basically it takes the characters we know and love in Glee. It’s more of a parody, so it kind of stereotypes those characters and has them slowly being killed off by a—

H5R: A masked slasher.

EJ: Yeah, yeah and there’s like a plot twist at the end. So it’s really funny, a little risqué. Glee in general, the show is more adult-themed anyway. It’s kind of about high school but it’s geared more towards the young adults or older adults. That’s essentially what it’s about. It’s kind of a parody, a mash-up; it takes the best of both of those things and makes them into something fun and entertaining theatre.

H5R: Did you pick this specifically or were you assigned this?

EJ: No, I was asked—well how I got involved with Landless, I mean most of theatre is networking really. I was in an apprentice at this stage which was an original theatre in Maryland, in the DC Metro area and then after that I was in an assistant director apprenticeship there so I started sending my résumé out to all the directors in the area to ask for assistant directing opportunities and that lead me to meet somebody else who got me to meet Christopher Finn, which is how I got to meet Landless and it was kind of just a networking thing and then they offered for me to direct this show and when a young director kind of trying to get in the theatre scene in you know, a city, that’s really the way to do it.

H5R: Was this kind of your big break?

EJ: I wouldn’t call it a big break. I think being able to direct a show in New York is a big deal. So we’ll see what comes of it. It’s constant networking, constant meeting people and that sort of thing. I did express interest in directing this in particular because I love Glee and it’s just a treat to do this, primarily because I like the script, the script is really funny, it allows for some really fun choices in staging things, stuff like that.

H5R: So is the musical based on a specific season of the show?

EJ: When we did it in DC, it was really based on season one, but there’s also been some rewrites that kind of incorporate some other things from season two. So it’s just kind of like an overall—like if anyone has seen it or is a Gleek, follows Glee, they’ll probably get the references.

H5R: Did you enjoy directing it?

EJ: Absolutely, absolutely. I’ve been blessed with a really great cast; it’s been a lot of fun. I mean today was exhausting [the director had a last-minute rehearsal before the interview] but we were laughing the whole time, and it’s really great to be able to direct something that you really enjoy or have fun doing cause otherwise, why do theatre? I mean that’s why—it’s a really collaborative process and I really enjoyed directing new work. I’ve been able to direct the DC premiere and to do that again here, it’s really—there’s a sense of accomplishment.

H5R: So how did you get from DC to New York? How did you get into the Fringe Festival?

EJ: I actually never was in contact with the Fringe Festival. Essential what happened was that Andy, who is the producing artistic director at Landless and also wrote Gleeam, he had asked me to direct Gleeam back in DC and then when it got accepted into NY Fringe, he really liked what I did with the show in DC so he asked me to come up to direct it for NY Fringe and I said absolutely. So that’s how I really got involved; more with the company as opposed to actually emailing with the Fringe. I didn’t even know they were going to bring it to NY Fringe until they told me, so, it’s pretty cool.

H5R: As you were directing it, did you find that you changed things from the script or…?

EJ: I try not to deviate from the script too much; I’ve worked as an actor, I’ve worked as a stage manager. I really believe in the hierarchy of theatre. I think that one of the things that drew me to theatre in general is the collaborative process and I think that to be really successful you have to accept everyone’s rules. I like to really take what’s on the paper and bring it to the stage. One of the benefits of working on new work, on new scripts where the playwright is really involved, it’s if the things aren’t working in rehearsal, you can kind of talk to them and say, “Hey, this isn’t really meshing.” And usually, playwrights are usually open with that, because they want their work to be the best it can be as well. So, I don’t really change the script at all.

H5R: No improv, or anything like that?

EJ: No, there’s not really improv in this show. I mean, in terms, of entrances and exits, I think that that’s really a director’s choice and a playwright kind of gives you a guide of how things should happen, but you can deviate from that. In terms of the language, I make sure the actors stay pretty verbatim, because I think that playwrights look for certain words; there are specific things why they wrote things a certain way and you have to respect their art, just like you would respect anyone else’s in the process.

H5R: Are you interested in being a playwright?

EJ: Not me in particular, no. I like writing and there have been some things that have happened in life that I have considered, oh this would make a really good play, but I’m more or less just leave it to more talented writers. I’m really—I enjoy directing, out of all the things that I’ve done.

H5R: So did directing come after acting, after stage-managing?

EJ: Yeah, I started acting when I was in high school. It was actually my freshman year in high school, I was walking into a bus, I saw a sign for auditions and I—I always wanted to do it, so I just walked in. It was called Anne of The Thousand Days and I walked into auditions and I got cast and my life kind of changed after that, I realized it was what I really wanted to do. So I studied theatre in college, I just kind of had my hand in everything, just to get a well-rounded education. Once, I took a directing class junior year and I remember I was up till about three in the morning working on a project for my directing class and I didn’t realize it was three in the morning, I was having so much fun. And I was always brought up to follow what you want to do in life, not what’s gonna give you the most money, so I realized if I’ve been doing this for six hours and it doesn’t feel like six hours then that’s what I should be doing. So after that I really started pursuing directing. After college I actually moved to New York for a while and I got some assistant directing opportunities and stage managing.

H5R: To go back to the musical—does the audience have to know both Glee and Scream to really understand the show?

EJ: No, I mean you can enjoy it. I think that people who know the characters of Glee will understand the humor a little more, but I think anyone would come out and enjoy this, as long as they’re open-minded.

H5R: So it’s an all-ages sort of thing?

EJ: It’s actually recommended for 18 plus, basically because of minor nudity, the language and things like that so I wouldn’t say anyone. Like my grandmother wants to go and see it, like it’s not really her thing, but she’s going to come see it anyway. But, I think that theatre is really subjective and it’s hard to say that anyone would love this play because you really don’t know and I think that’s what’s really cool about theatre or art in general is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure so to speak. I mean I’ve gone to shows where people have absolutely loved something that I have hated. I mean—I would recommend this show to anyone who’s open-minded and wants to have a good time and if you’re a Glee fan.