The Trump Card

October 25-October 30, 2016

  • Created and Performed by Mike Daisey
  • Directed by Isaac Butler
  • Approximately 2 hours, with no intermission

Mike Daisey returns to Woolly for the third and final time to take on the reigning world heavyweight of self-mythologizing, the political vulgarian who has bullied his way into the national consciousness and grabbed the entire country with his short, predatory fingers: Donald Trump.

Daisey tells Trump’s story from his earliest days, tracking him as he makes himself into a new American archetype—the very first rich man famous exclusively for being rich—right up to the present moment. Even if you’ve seen The Trump Card before, this new version incorporates the last two months of the Presidential campaign… for all their ugliness and acrimony. Daisey breaks down what keeps Trump ticking, instead of just dismissing him as a simple con artist and huckster, and in doing so illuminates the state of our American Dream… and how we’ve sold it out.


"His ability to spin layered, entrancing oral stories working from handwritten outlines amounts to a superpower."

Washington City Paper

"Scabrously funny...Daisey excels."

Washington Post

"...superb and remarkably complex..."

Chicago Tribune

"Trusting in the audience's attention span, "The Trump Card" is the equivalent of long-form journalism."

LA Times

About the Playwright: Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey is the preeminent monologist in the American theater today. Called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by The New York Times, he has been compared to a modern-day Mark Twain and a latter-day Orson Welles for his provocative monologues that combine the political and the personal, weaving together secret histories with hilarity and heart. He's known for art that provokes and crosses boundaries, like his critically acclaimed 29-night live theatrical novel, All the Faces of the Moon, a forty hour performance staged at the Public Theater in New York City in 2013.

He has toured across five continents, ranging from remote islands in the South Pacific to the Sydney Opera House to abandoned theaters in post-Communist Tajikistan. He's been a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, the Late Show with David Letterman, a longtime host and storyteller with The Moth, as well as a commentator and contributor to The New York Times, The GuardianHarper's Magazine, Newsweek, WIRED, Vanity Fair, Slate, Salon, NPR and the BBC. In a brief, meteoric career with This American Life, his appearances are among the most listened to and downloaded episodes of that program's history. He has been nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama League Awards, and is the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, six Seattle Times Footlight Awards, the Sloan Foundation's Galileo Prize, and a MacDowell Fellowship.

As a playwright, his transcript of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first week it was made available. Under a revolutionary open license it has seen more than 150 productions around the world and been translated into six languages. Years later there are productions being staged all over the world every night from Germany to Sao Paolo to mainland China. He is currently at work on his second book, Here at the End of Empire, which will be published next year by Simon and Schuster.

About the Director: Isaac Butler

Isaac Butler most recently wrote and directed Real Enemies, a collaboration with the composer Darcy James Argue and the video artist Peter Nigrini, which was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the 2015 BAM Next Wave Festival. Named one of the top ten live events of 2015 by the New York Times, Real Enemies will tour America, Europe and Australia in 2016. Previous directing credits include Brooklyn Babylon (BAM NextWave & tour), Greg Moss's Reunion and Corey Hinkle's Notes on a Disappearance (Playwrights Center), Clay McLeod Chapman's volume of smoke (Virginia Commonwealth University, The Firehouse Theater, The Kraine Theater and others), and Joshua Conkel's milkmilklemonade (Under St. Mark's). He also directed the US Premiere of Line Knutzon's First You're Born, the first ever production of a contemporary Danish Play in English in the United States. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Slate, The Fiddleback, American Theatre, Time Out New York, PANK, Blunderbus, The LA Review of Books and others. His first book, The World Only Spins Forward, a history of Angels in America co-written with Dan Kois, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2018.