UNION – Less than one month after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear not one but two cases challenging legislation that seeks to restrict marriage to a man and a woman, Kean University Department of Theatre – with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact – will hold a rescheduled 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. Originally scheduled for Nov. 5, 2012 and postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, Kean’s reading of “8” will now take place mere months before the Supreme Court is expected to begin hearing arguments in both cases.
“8” is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Hollingsworth v. Perry, one of the two cases soon to be heard by the Supreme Court), a suit initially filed by AFER in 2009 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. 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.”
Directed by Maureen Heffernan of Young Audiences New Jersey, Kean’s production of “8” will feature a cast of Equity actors, Kean faculty, students, alumni, and staff. Says Heffernan, “I am delighted to be a part of this production of ’8′ which provides an opportunity to meet and understand more about real people who are part of the struggle for marriage equality. This is an engaging look at a difficult issue facing our country.”
Kean’s reading of “8” will take place on Monday, January 28th at 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre within the University Center. Tickets are $8 for seniors and Kean students/faculty/staff; $18 for the general public; and $88 for those wishing to make a substantial donation. All proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and tickets may be purchased at the Kean University Box Office by calling 908-737-7469.