Riverside Theatre in Collaboration with Working Group Theatre Joins Nationwide Productions of Landmark Marriage Equality Play by Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of MILK and J. EDGAR.
Iowa City, Iowa – On Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 PM, Riverside Theatre in collaboration with Working Group Theatre, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only staged reading of “8,” a play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black. Twenty-one area actors and community members will participate in the reading. After the show there will be a talk-back for audience members with State Representative Vicki Lensing and Molly Tafoya of OneIowa (the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization) about the landscape of marriage equality in Iowa and nationally. Following the talk-back, ticket holders will be invited to a lobby reception sponsored by Devotay.
Dates & Times: Thursday, November 15, 7:30PM, Riverside Theatre, 213 N Gilbert Street, Iowa City
Tickets: $15 and can be reserved by calling the Riverside Theatre Box Office at (319) 338-7672. A portion of the ticket proceeds goes to American Foundation for Equal Rights. All ticket holders are invited to attend the post-show talk-back and reception.
ABOUT THE PLAY “8”
“8” by Dustin Lance Black, is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.
Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk and the film J. Edgar, based “8” on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
“8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The production brought in over $1 million to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality.
“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,” said AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black. “The goal of ‘8’ is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. AFER and Broadway Impact are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”
Throughout 2012, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing “8” for free to colleges and theatres nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. Most productions will be followed by a talkback where cast and audience members can discuss the issues presented in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.
The story for “8” is framed by the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010, and features the best arguments and testimony from both sides. Scenes include flashbacks to some of the more jaw-dropping moments of trial, such as the admission by the Proposition 8 supporters’ star witness, David Blankenhorn, that “we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”
On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision upholding the historic August 2010 ruling of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit concluded:
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”
Riverside Theatre & Working Group Theatre have organized a post-show talk-back for audience members with guests Molly Tafoya of OneIowa (the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization) and State Representative Vicki Lensing. The topic will be the landscape of marriage equality in Iowa, and nationally. The talk-back will be followed by a reception for ticket holders.
Jody Hovland, Artistic Director of Riverside Theatre chose this reading with the community in mind. Hovland says, “We’re excited about this unique opportunity to be part of the national conversation about marriage equality. And it’s a thrill to have 21 readers – theatre artists as well as community friends – on the Gilbert Street stage!”
Working Group Theatre (WGT) creates plays and events in collaboration with artists and community partners. WGT's past work in area of LGBT rights and advocacy include "Make it Better, Iowa" a project working with LGBT youth and theatre training.