Prop 8 play to premiere in Australia
Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s play, 8, on the controversial referendum that stripped gay and lesbian couples of the freedom to marry in California will premiere in Sydney and Melbourne next month with an all-star local cast including Daniel Macpherson and Lisa McCune.
Following successful showings in New York Los Angeles featuring the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Jamie Lee Curtis and Martin Sheen, the Australian production of 8 will be directed by Bruce Myles and also star Shane Jacobson and Spencer McLaren with more actors to be announced shortly.
The play is an unprecedented account of the continuing court battle over same-sex marriage in California after a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment known as Proposition 8 stating “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” was passed during the state’s November 2008 elections.
In February of this year, the proposition was deemed unconstitutional following a majority decision by a panel of US Federal Court judges however due to a pending appeal same-sex marriage ceremonies are still not allowed to be performed in California.
Producer Kate Whitbread said she was compelled to bring the play to the Australian stage after experiencing the Los Angeles reading.
“It is remarkable how universal the issue is and how we all need to stand together for what is right,” she said.
“We are thrilled by the overwhelming support and generosity of the community in getting this play to the stage.”
Writer, Lance Black, who won an Oscar in 2009 for Milk — the biopic on the life and death of assassinated gay US politician and activist Harvey Milk— said one aim of the play was to show the world marriage equality is a basic constitutional right.
“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,” Black said.
With the play to be performed on one night only in both Sydney and Melbourne, all profits from the events will go to Australian Marriage Equality.
Rodney Croome, campaign director for Australian Marriage Equality, said the funds would come in very handy with many people now focused firmly on the marriage equality vote due to take in Federal Parliament in the second half of this year.
“The funds raised from 8 will go into encouraging as many pro-equality Australians as possible to write to, and meet, their federal representatives,” Croome said.
“This will include Australians of faith and the loved ones of LGBTI people.”
The staging of the play will coincide with the handing down of findings from the Senate’s recent inquiry into the country’s marriage laws.
8 will be staged in Melbourne on June 8 at Her Majesty’s Theatre and on June 9 at Sydney Town Hall.
Tickets for the Sydney performance are available from Ticketmaster, www.ticketmaster.com.au.