When my late friend Jaime Carrera asked me if I wanted to put on a show in the basement of a Mexican grocery store as part of the Outlet Performance Festival he was putting together in the summer of 2013, my first thought was that I wanted to write a play about net neutrality. Thinking about issues of tech, and the power of corporations in our society, led me down a path that eventually resulted in the creation of what I like to refer to as a dystopian farce. I was influenced by the story of Aaron Schwartz, the computer programmer who faced decades in prison for his efforts to make information more accessible, and ended up committing suicide while under federal indictment. I was further influenced by the story of Edward Snowden, who burst to fame while I was working on the script.
A lot has changed since we first presented this play. Neoliberalism has been replaced by a regime that seems far more sinister, openly xenophobic and callous to concerns about our environment as well as the poor. And yet, the influence and power of corporations has remained the same, if not strengthened.
I am forever grateful to my friend Macelle Mahala for being a strong partner in not only creating this work and being amongst the original cast, but for giving the piece a second life this year. I’ll also acknowledge my other collaborators who helped me create the work: Rakel Garcia, Jeff Nichols, Maddie and Maggie Scanlan, Romina Takimoto, Lisa Peterson de la Cueva, and Hector Roberts. I am thrilled to see how the theater students of the University of the Pacific have re-imagined this piece.