Fighting for marriage equalityBrad Pitt and George Clooney joined other A-list actors back in March to present a play in Los Angeles about California’s controversial Proposition 8 and the lawsuit it provoked.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Brad Pitt and George Clooney joined other A-list actors back in March to present a play in Los Angeles about California’s controversial Proposition 8 and the lawsuit it provoked.
The proposition took away the possibility of same-sex marriage in the state. Following the 2010 trial, Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black combined court transcripts and first-hand interviews to create a script for the stage. Thus, the courtroom drama “8” was born.
Ever since, the drama has spread to states across the country, including Minnesota.
Red Wing Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays got ahold of the production and will sponsor a performance Saturday Sept. 8 at the Sheldon Theatre as part of Red Wing’s annual Diversity Festival.
After hearing about the play, PFLAG asked a local theater group to take part.
“Members contacted some of the Soapbox Players and kind of pitched the idea,” explained Dan Guida of PFLAG. “They were very interested in doing it. It just came together really well.”
Soapbox Players Board member Min MartinOakes said she jumped at the chance to direct the 90-minute production.
“When I looked at the script I was really interested in supporting PFLAG’s efforts,” MartinOakes said. “I’m very supportive and want to do whatever I can.”
The play chronicles the landmark federal trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, where a gay couple and lesbian couple challenged the passing of Proposition 8.
There is no set change and no intermission in the production. The simplicity of the play should allow audience members to focus on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is especially relevant in Minnesota as the question will be on the ballot in November, organizers said.
For that reason, MartinOakes said she hopes the play can help people better understand what it’s all about.
“I think it’s a confusing issue. If you support same-sex marriage, you vote ‘no,’” she said. “What I want to do is just get people to really think about it. Consider carefully the implications of this proposed constitutional amendment.”
Red Wing resident Dick Eick became aware of “8” because of his participation in PFLAG, but he got further involved when he landed a part in the local production. Eick will make his local stage debut as Chief Judge Vaughn Walker.
“Judges are to be a steadying influence in a trial and in the courtroom, and to keep things civil and on track. I’m kind of an organized guy, so that’s a role that is close to who I am,” Eick said.
Although Eick can keep order much like his character, the similarities between them stop when it comes to their views on same-sex marriage.
In the play, “I’m impartial. That’s the judge’s role,” he said.
Personally, however, Eick favors legalizing same-sex marriage and said he hopes the amendment will be defeated in November.
By including arguments from both the defendants and plaintiffs in the case, “8” provides insight from multiple points of view.
“Those who oppose gay marriage — you hear very clearly their arguments and their concerns. And those who feel gays should have that right and that privilege — you hear similarly their expressions,” Eick said.
Whether someone is in favor of or against same-sex marriage, PFLAG members hope people will attend the production.
“We’re wanting to open up discussions, and this play would present the background offering both sides,” PFLAG member Judy Will said.
Aside from hoping to stir up dialogue beyond the theater’s walls, PFLAG will give people a chance to talk about the issue immediately after the performance Saturday while it’s in the forefront of their minds.
Audience members are invited to move closer to the stage as members of the cast stick around to engage in discussion with those who attended.
“Let’s have a conversation,” Eick said.