Sunday, July 29, 2012
"8" the Play
"8" is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry V. Schwarzenegger (now Perry V. Brown), the case filed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.
I played Chief Justice Vaughn Walker (the Brad Pitt part in the video below). I have not acted since the summer I was accepted into the Hello Friend reading program at Fordham University--which led directly into the doctoral program--so this was a simple way to step back into it (only one rehearsal!).
But more importantly, it felt good to take part in a theatrical experience that promotes discussion, tolerance and equality. The show came about because the Supreme Court blocked plans to broadcast the trial therefore denying the nation access to the powerful testimony of the four plaintiffs. However, the transcripts could not be hidden and "8" the Play brings the proceedings to the people.
It's a clever way around the Supreme Court ruling, no? Now, productions are taking place all over America with "talk back" sessions following each performance.
At our talk--which was a bit of preaching to the choir--the issue was brought up about the protect our children strategy put forth by supporters of Prop 8. How fear and manipulation were used to ignite an emotional response from the voters to vote yes.
One cast member, when relating a story about a friend who didn't know what to say to her child about her attending a "gay" wedding, reminded us that the focus is always on love, never sex. She told her friend to simply tell her son she was going to celebrate the love between two of her male friends who were getting married. That's enough. And she added, "if you attend an opposite-sex marriage you don't say, 'and after they say their vows they have a honeymoon and then they have sex.' You say, 'they are getting married.' It's no different."
The overarching theme of our discussion was "what can I do to promote equality?" And the consensus was that we each have a responsibility to speak up when someone says hateful, harmful things. Call them out on it in a respectful manner, without anger or accusation. If someone says "that's gay"(the implication being negative) say something. The less acceptable it is to promote prejudice and negativity the sooner it'll stop.
At least that's the idea.