A new theater entity opens Friday in Long Beach and rarely has a producing organization exploded from the box with a more emotionally charged subject or with such a familiar cast.
The entity is the Public Theatre of Long Beach. The play is 8, which dramatizes the courtroom battle that resulted in the overturning of Proposition 8 (the ballot proposition passed by California voters in November, 2008 that banned same-sex couples the right to marriage) On Aug., 4, 2010, a U.S. District Court overturned Prop 8 on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. That 12-day trial is the basis of 8.
Though a victory for proponents of same-sex unions, the fat lady ain't sung yet. The U.S. Supreme Court will review Prop 8, this fall.
It also received a high school production in Woodland Hills last week.
An interesting aspect of the play is that, in real life, the testimony in Perry v. Schwarzenegger couldn't be heard live. The plaintiff's attorneys, Ted Olson and David Boies (who represented the opposing sides in the Bush v. Gore clusterfuck of 2000) wanted the trial broadcast, which the judge agreed to. But opponents filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which blocked any broadcasting. Outraged by this, Black, who wrote Milk and J.Edgar, pored over the 12 days of testimony to come up with his play.
After the performance, the cast as well as Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, two plaintiffs in the case, will speak and conduct a Q&A.