“8” is a staged reenactment of the federal trial of California’s Perry vs. Schwarzenegger testimony that led to Proposition 8, “to be overturned by the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to marry back in November 2008.”
The play was written by Sacramento-raised screen writer, film director and Academy Award winner for the 2008 film, “Milk,” Dustin Lance Black. Black, 38, was brought up in a Mormon household. He wrote this play in 2011 in the hopes of gaining the attention of those who were affected by the overturn of Proposition 8, and the refusal to allow any release of video recordings from the actual trial.
By using original transcripts from the events in 2008, including records and interviews from journalists and those involved, “8” first opened at Eugene O’Neil theatre in New York on Sept. 19, 2011. This was soon later broadcasted to the world via YouTube, from Ebell of Los Angeles theatre, in March of 2012.
“I wanted to maybe inspire the younger generation” said Black. “There is a lot that needs changing-not just gay rights.” In February 2009, Black won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in “Milk,” wearing a white knot to the ceremony as a symbol of solidarity with the marriage equality movement. In his acceptance speech, Black stated, “I want to thank my mom, who have always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to.”
BC’s Chair of Theatre Arts Department of Dance and Drama, Tammi Doyle, is directing this ‘docu-drama.’ “I was really excited because we have BC staff, faculty members, alumni and students reading rolls of real people.” “8” service charges were waved for the reservations of tickets. Panel support groups will be coming in honor of the staged reading.
Proposition 8 was a huge historical event for the people of California. Proponents of the constitutional amendment argued that exclusively heterosexual marriage was “an essential institution of society,” that leaving the constitution unchanged would “result in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay,” and that gays “do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.” On August 8, 2008, the California Superior Court turned down the legal challenge, affirming the new title and summary, stating, “the title and summary is not false or misleading because it states that Proposition 8 would ‘eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry’ in California.” The Superior Court based their decision on the previous marriages cases ruling in which the California Supreme Court held that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry under the California Constitution.
According to Doyle, the purpose of featuring this play was to educate the students about this issue that happened several years ago and to engage students on the issues of R-74, which is current in the state of Washington.The students and faculty who have put much effort into this production have high hopes for the outcome on Thursday night. “It could be great, it honestly just depends on who comes,” said Doyle.
From riding dirt bikes to studying up on the latest and greatest cars or to even learning all about solar eclipses in his astronomy class here at BC, Corey Grant, 22, plays Dr. Ilan Meyer, a Columbian Psychologist in “8.” Grant portrays Dr. Meyer’s Columbia social psychologist and an expert in mental health and discrimination. When asked about his personal views on “8” and the idea of same-sex marriage, Grant stated, “I really don’t think it is important to be concerned about who someone else wants to spend their time with.”
The aspiring actor is excited for the opening night of “8” here at BC, and is fully supportive of Doyle and all her efforts for putting this into production. “It shouldn’t be such a big deal who marries who or what,” stated Grant. “The people of Cali should be more concerned about the next potential earthquake that could cause a tsunami.”