Katy Snyder/ The Daily Evergreen Jones Theater in Daggy Hall was packed Friday night for the staged reading of “8,” a play revealing the testimony from the Proposition 8 trials. Not your average play, “8” was an art exhibition, a dramatic reading and a talk-back panel rolled into one night of theatre.
The lobby was plastered with photography and informational posters explaining the background of Proposition 8. At the start of the show, 21 actors took to the stage with scripts in hand.
Senior theater major Arielle Lien played Sandy Stier, a plainff in the Prop. 8 case and Kris Perry’s wife-to-be.
“It's definitely a different experience, but I felt like I could give the words more justice with them in front of me, instead of memorizing them being worried about forgetting them,"Lien said. "It felt really empowering.”
The lines of “8” are derived from the actual testimony of those involved in the court case. Mary Trotter, faculty adviser for the student theater group STAGE, was responsible for bringing “8” to WSU.
“Usually court proceedings like this are publicized and you have access to them,” Trotter said. “However, when this trial was going on, the general public didn’t have access to it, and that was Dustin lance Black’s reasoning for writing this play, so that we the public could see exactly what went on in the courtroom. I thought that was important for … all of us to see.”
Sophomore music education major Meredith Heinzmann attended the show to catch up on current issues surrounding gay marriage.
“I was appalled to hear some of the testimony … like the boy whose mother said that she hated him and that he would burn in hell,"Heinzmann said."It was heartbreaking that someone could say that to a child."
Commercials supporting Prop. 8 that actually played in California during the trials were shown via projector as “evidence” throughout the show. The commercials were met with laughter from the crowd.
“To say that gay marriage is a threat to children is completely off the mark," Heinzmann said. "I felt like they didn’t address the issue in a productive way at all, and they were basically fear propaganda.”
Reed Michaelsen, a staff member at Northwest Public Radio, was a University of Southern California student in Los Angeles during the Prop. 8 trials and witnessed the advertisements first hand.
“I think a lot of people when they saw these ads (during the show) thought that they were fake or parodies, but they are real,” Michaelsen said.
Washington State Human Rights Commissioner Charlene Strong, Colfax attorney Daniel LeBeau and Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center Director Heidi Schnelby were on the talk-back panel that followed the play. Andrew Russell, the artistic director of the Intiman Theatre in Seattle moderated the discussion.