Chandler has announced a one-night-only benefit staged reading of Dustin Lance Black's 8 on December 1 in Randolph, Vermont.
This event is produced under license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact and with the cooperation of Vermont Freedom to Marry.
8 is an account of the Federal District Court trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8 approved in November 2008 by California voters, stripping gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry. Playwright Dustin Lance Black, well-known for his Academy Award-winning scripts for Milk and J. Edgar, based 8 on the actual words of the June 2010 trial transcript, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
At the conclusion of that trial, the Federal District Court in August 2010 declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional. In February 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court affirmed the District Court ruling, stating: "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."
AFER continues to pursue the case for full marriage equality through the United States' legal system, including to the Supreme Court level, where this question may be taken up during the 2012-13 term. Licensed readings of 8 nationwide throughout late 2011, all of 2012, and into 2013 will help cover the court costs and spur action, dialogue, and understanding of the issues. The Chandler production is the only reading scheduled for Central Vermont and New Hampshire through the end of this year, with the proceeds benefiting both AFER and Vermont Freedom to Marry.
The December 1 staged reading of 8 in Randolph, directed by well-known acting teacher Richard Waterhouse, will feature Paul Arthaud (Charlotte), Dan Butler (Newbury), Alan Gelfant (Norwich), Andra Kisler (Northfield), Jason Lorber (Burlington), Justin Quackenbush (Essex), and Suzanne Schon (Hanover).
Vermont Freedom to Marry representatives will set the context for the play during a 7:00 PM introduction in the Esther Mesh Room of Chandler's Upper Gallery. They, along with Vermont American Civil Liberties Union's Executive Director Allen Gilbert, will also participate with cast members in a talkback after the 7:30 PM performance in the Music Hall. Afterwards the audience will have a chance to mingle with the cast and all the talkback participants during a reception in the Upper Gallery.
"People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial in June 2010, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter," says Mr. 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." Mr. Waterhouse adds, "Even though Vermont has enacted freedom to marry, 8 reminds us that the majority of U.S. citizens do not have this right. The Chandler cast is honored to donate its time toward an exciting evening of theater in benefit of Vermont Freedom to Marry and the marriage equality cause countrywide."
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students; group rates are available. Proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Marriage Equality and Vermont Freedom to Marry. Tickets are now available online at www.chandler-arts.org, or by calling the Chandler Box Office at 802-728-6464 between 3 and 6 PM weekdays.