8 comes to Western

Original play poster
Original play poster

The controversy surround California’s Proposition 8 is about as current as it is possible for a current event can be. Various faculty and students of Western Oregon University is offering it’s own take on the issue this week by performing 8, a play by Dustin Lance Black.

The play, based off of real transcripts from the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, was written in response to the banning of cameras by the defendants from the court room. It tackles the issues surrounding Proposition 8, an amendment passed in 2008, which eliminated same-sex marriage in the state of California, and was operated by a fear campaign targeted towards children.

I got the chance to talk with Ted deChatelet, the director for Western’s performance. He said that now is “as timely as the play can possibly get,” when asked about the relevance of the play to today’s audience. By putting on this production deChatelet said he hopes to spread the word far and wide, and that the performance will be all about the facts. “[I hope] as many people come and just listen,” said deChatelet, “and make up their own mind.”

CM Hall, who is producing and acting in 8, says of campus reaction “I think folks will largely be in support of marriage equality and it will further help folks articulate the reasons why.” She says that to her the play “shows how weak the anti-marriage equality side was in their so-called arguments and attempt to validate their position. It also shows how same sex couples and families only want respect and dignity—which comes with access to the same rights heterosexual partners are entitled to.” Hall says that by staging these showings of 8 here at Western Oregon University “[She hopes] it continues to build support for marriage equality. People see the unfairness now and I hope this will propel people to vote for equality and to end the ban on same-sex marriage in Oregon in the fall of 2014 when it comes to a vote of Oregonians.”

Additionally, Hall says of the production “As an interpreter, I also hope we can show off how Deaf actors and interpreters are integrated into the production.”

8 looks to be a compelling performance about a highly relevant issue. It will be Wednesday, May 8th and Thursday, May 9th in the Smith Music Hall, room 121, starting at 7:00pm and lasting until 10:30pm. Tickets will cost $2.00 and will be on sale in the Werner University Center from 11:00am- 1:00pm May 6th through the 9th. Performances will be followed by a Q and A session with advocates from Basic Rights Oregon. 

By Bonnie Wells

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