By Matthew Hansen, ARTSpulse contributor
Chronicling the federal trial for marriage equality, the play aimed to spark action among attendees. Representatives from Minnesotans United for All Families were on hand, distributing “Vote No” stickers and sharing their determination for defeating the upcoming Marriage Amendment.
“One of the values that the ensemble of Theatre B attempts to hold in all of its work,” director Brad Delzer said on the theatre’s blog, “is a belief that the theatre can present thought provoking art as inspiration for social action.”
When the California constitution was amended in 2008 to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples, Sandy Stier and Kristin Perry along with Jeff Zarillo and Paul Katami took their case to Federal Court. Their attorneys: Ted Olson and David Boies. Both Olson and Boies accelerated to fame for being the competing attorneys in Bush vs. Gore.
The attorneys argued that the case ought to be televised. However, it was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court that it would not be televised. So the twelve days in January 2010 — with riveting testimony and cross-examinations — was not displayed to the American public. All that remains are the court transcripts.
The transcripts reveal testimony that was surprising to many, namely that those in support of California’s Proposition 8 failed to have an effective argument or credible witnesses. Experts were debunked, and just by reading the transcripts — or, in this case, watching the play — one easily sees how important it is for this to be shared with a wider audience.
“There are also brief moments that, with simple precision, illuminate the tremendous noise of the 24-hour news cycle, the dangerous conflation of expertise and opinion, and the destructive inflexibility of extreme ideology,” Delzer says.
With the upcoming Minnesota election deciding whether or not to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional, “8,” the play could not be any more timely.