Social Justice Calendar
Staged Reading of the Play "8"
Sponsored by Community Forum, Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Sunday, February 17, 2013
3327 Old Conejo Road, Newbury Park, CA
A staged reading of the play “8,” a dramatically charged look at the federal court battle over California’s Proposition 8 on same-sex marriage, will be presented in Newbury Park on the weekend of Feb. 15, 16 and 17. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black used court transcripts to re-create powerful scenes of trial testimony and arguments, interspersed with personal accounts from gay couples and their children whose families and relationships are not recognized under Proposition 8’s legal definition of marriage. The West Coast premiere of “8” last March drew a capacity crowd to the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles to see a cast headed by Brad Pitt as U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, George Clooney and Martin Sheen as plaintiffs’ attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson, and Kevin Bacon as Prop. 8 defense counsel Charles Cooper. The Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Community Forum was selected by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and the grassroots marriage equality organization Broadway Impact to stage the local presentation. The cast is made up of fellowship members and volunteers from the community. The drama will be presented at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 16, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 17 in the fellowship sanctuary at 3327 Old Conejo Road in Newbury Park. A moderated discussion will follow each performance. Tickets are $15, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Black, a founding board member of AFER, based his play on the Federal District Court trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Hollingsworth v. Perry). The case was filed after California voters approved Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment, on Nov. 4, 2008. The amendment specifies that the state only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman as legally valid. It brought an end to a brief period when same-sex marriages were legal in California under a state Supreme Court ruling. Judge Walker overturned Proposition 8 in 2010, saying it violated the protections of the U.S. Constitution. His ruling was upheld in February of 2012 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The courts have stayed those rulings, not allowing same-sex marriages to resume in California pending further appeal. The issue is before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on Proposition 8 on March 26. Black, who won an Oscar for the screenplay of “Milk” and penned the recent drama “J. Edgar,” said he wrote “8” because “people need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter.” While the play makes a dramatic case for marriage equality, it also presents the arguments pressed by those who defended Proposition 8. AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing the drama free to colleges, community theatres and other groups nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. The local production is directed by the Rev. Lora Brandis, minister of the Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. “Our congregation has been in support of marriage equality throughout this entire journey through the courts,” Rev. Brandis said. ”This production lays out the legal and moral case in a powerful way.”
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