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Benefit Reading of Dustin Lance Black's Play "8"

Perseverance Theatre presents Landmark Marriage Equality Play by Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter

Posted: March 24, 2013 - 12:08am

Perseverance 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,” at 7 p.m. on April 1 at Centennial Hall in Juneau. The funds raised at this benefit performance will be shared by Perseverance Theatre, Juneau Pride Chorus and the Pride Foundation. Tickets are now available through Hearthside Books, the JACC, online at perseverancetheatre.org or by calling 907-463-TIXS (8497).

“8” chronicles the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8; it’s an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Hollingsworth v. Perry), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8 — the proposition that stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

Playwright Dustin Lance Black is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER founding board member. Black penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk and the film J. Edgar. He 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.

The cast includes dedicated Juneau artists and activists Bud Carpeneti, Tom Koester, Maureen Longworth, Lin Davis, Ben Brown and many Perseverance company members. Following the performance, there will be a conversation with the cast and director, Art Rotch.

“8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on Sept. 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The production brought in more than $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 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.”

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 the 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 Feb. 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.”

The case is set to go to the Supreme Court March 26.

Tickets are now available through Hearthside Books, the JACC, online at perseverancetheatre.org or by calling 907-463-TIXS (8497). This performance is a one-night only event.

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