So, I saw Mike Daisey's one-man show, The Agony & Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and I was moved and horrified and impressed with his mission, and..I believed him. At no point was it suggested to the audience in any way that this was primarily a piece of theater, with "creative license" taken to make the point; an important point still. Even with the fabrications, it makes us aware of a problem of great magnitude. The audience was even given a flyer as we exited the show, detailing ways that we could help. As Jonathan Mandell pointed out, that would have been the perfect time to 'fess up about the parts that were created for the purpose of theater.
I am not sorry I saw the production. Mike Daisey is a gifted storyteller and the story he is telling is important and not limited to his target, Apple. And that's the problem. By not coming clean early on, he has risked the impact of the true parts of the story. He was unfair to Apple and unfair to the audience, who willingly went with him on the journey. When you buy a ticket to Albuquerque, you expect to get to Albuquerque, not Santa Fe, as beautiful as Santa Fe might be.
Even when I found myself questioning the accuracy while I was listening, I pushed my doubts aside because I thought "No, he would have told us if this was not true." And that's how good a storyteller he is; he was passionately committed to the message and I couldn't not believe him.
I saw the show just a week before the news of the fabrications became public. I met Mike after the show and shared how moved I was. He seemed subdued, and I'm wondering if he either knew already that this was going to happen, or whether he was uncomfortable with my honest reaction to a story that was not completely honest. Or maybe he was just hungry and wanted to get to lunch.
Theater is such an important vehicle for change. But it's strength is that it's not the news. So it's ok to say "this is not the news; I want to tell you a story to make you think and then maybe change tomorrow's news." I wish Mike Daisey had done that. But I'm not sorry I saw the show.