"Socially Unacceptable" - A Play by Matt Steinberg
West Coast Premiere
Socially Unacceptable explores the growing conflicts between big tech and health, and the cost at which our digital world looks the way it does.
About the Play
Directed by Brian Brophy of Theater Arts at Caltech, Socially Unacceptable follows three Facebook content moderators who are hired to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeling lucky to have jobs, these new employees spend their days in a virtual world, Zoom conferencing with teammates for full workdays.
As they screen the site's most violent and offensive posts, these content moderators begin to deal with the dangerous psychological effects of the job, and their lives become increasingly interconnected both on screen and off.
The internet reflects all of humanity. It's a place of joy and connection, charity and progress. However, like the real world, it has those dark sides too. Sometimes we stumble onto them and stumble back out in horror. Yet, it's okay. We click "Report." We sweep the horror under the rug. We return to our bubble; to safety.
But who handles those reports? Whose job is it to keep the revolting at bay? With Congress and the United Nations pushing back on fully automated moderation, Facebook has turned to human moderators. In Socially Unacceptable playwright Matt Steinberg shows us five characters: the idealistic dreamer, the ambitious recruit, the easy-going confidant, the frustrated expert, and the manager just trying to hold it all together. Together they face the worst the internet has to offer—that which is completely socially unacceptable.
Let's hope the moderators survive.
The production features an all-undergraduate cast:
- Emily Choe '24
- Tanmay Gupta '24
- Joy Liu '24
- Winter Pearson '23
- Betty Wang '21
Matt Steinberg was a playwright with the NYU Gallatin Theater Group, where he had a workshop of his first play The Better Party. Since graduating, he's been a member of The New Group Theater's playwrights workshop. Most recently, Matt has developed his newest play Socially Unacceptable with The Tank Theater.
Matt started out in the world of New York comedy performing stand-up around NYC, writing sketches at the Upright Citizen's Brigade, and even contributing jokes as the writer's intern at Late Night with Seth Myers.
He has worked as the assistant to Steven Levenson since 2017. During this time, he served as the showrunner's assistant on FX's limited series Fosse/Verdon, as well as assistant to playwright on Days of Rage (Second Stage) and Dear Evan Hansen (Music Box).
Get Your Ticket
Socially Unacceptable will run for three performances, all at 5:00 p.m. PST:
- Thursday, February 25
- Friday, February 26
- Saturday, February 27
Each performance will be followed by a live, interactive talk-back discussion.
Admission is $5 for non-Caltech students, $10 for JPL/Caltech employees, and $20 for everyone else.
(Caltech Students: Please email Cindy De Mesa for your special pricing.)