Actor Daniel Dae Kim: "It's not a partisan issue that we're talking about, as much as we're talking about the ways in which our democracy is changing."
Actor Daniel Dae Kim debuted a new political play called "Belly of the Beast" on Sunday, Nov. 1. Focusing on two fictional Trump campaign executives, the play touches on the effects of social media and misinformation on democracy. Kim appears alongside actors Joel de la Fuente, Carrie Preston, Antonia Thomas and Tamlyn Tomita.
Actor Joel de la Fuente: "Because of social media, and the acceleration of the technology around it, we are now in a position where people are having individual realities constructed for them. … It's not really just a question of one party versus another party. It's not a question of person 'x' versus person 'y.' We're talking about a technology that exists that everybody can and is using to affect our ability to make choices."
The play's spotlight on misinformation and polarization is based on what's happening in real life. A recent Newsy investigation on "perception gaps" found that most people assume they know the beliefs of people from different political parties based on news or social media, rather than actually talking to them. That deepens the political divide.
Kim: "The issue that we're dealing with is the divisiveness and the polarization. … They are a separate issue from whether you believe left or right. It's about the demonization of the other side, regardless of which of which side you're on."
Kim, who has campaigned for presidential candidate Joe Biden, acknowledged that the voices of political opponents are important to listen to.
Actress Tamlyn Tomita: "I think there are ambiguities within the piece that we're going 'well, he's fighting for the right thing, or he's fighting for the wrong thing.' But it's all about winning, and in this climate of our country right now, what does that mean to win?"
Newsy Reporter Casey Mendoza: "Were there ever any worries of negative reactions from audiences who say this play could be too liberal or too conservative?"
"I just got a tweet 30 minutes ago, basically saying, I'm never watching anything else you're ever doing. So yes, these kinds of reactions are out there. But if you believe that art holds a mirror up to life, or if you believe what Brecht says that not only is art holding a mirror up to life, but it's also a hammer with which to shape it, then this is the role of the artist in society."