‘8’ brings readings from controversial court case

Equality has been a long debated topic in the United States.

From racial equality to gender equality, the American people have been questioning the statement that all persons were created equal for more than 60 years. That debate has continued into our generation.

Since 2010 California’s Proposition 8 has been the subject of controversy. The ballot issue to ban homosexual marriages in the state of California brought to light questions about the beliefs of the American people.

In an attempt to bring the debate closer to home, Dramashop, a locally run non-profit theatre company,  will present a staged reading of Dustin Lance Black’s play “8” as part of the Erie Reader staged reading series. The performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the PACA Center for the Arts.

Black wrote the staged reading as a way to inform the public of the events that occurred during the Prop 8 trial because the court voted against a motion to release video footage of the trial.

The play has been since licensed to be released across the country on college campuses and in community theaters free of charge for educational purposes.

The staged reading will feature several Gannon students, alumni, faculty and Erie community members.

One of the students involved is Ted Hallowell, a sophomore communications major from Reynoldville, Pa. Hallowell will make his first appearance on stage with “8”.

Hallowell said that “8” is an extremely relevant topic for our generation.

“It’s important to us because Proposition 8 was just in Supreme Courts,” Hallowell said. “One of the biggest movements of Facebook was the recent marriage equality pictures; obviously people care about it.”

When asked why “8” was Hallowell’s first show he said that it’s difficult to say why.

“But honestly, what an interesting play to make my acting debut,” Hallowell said. “I mean, I have a small part but it’s interesting being involved in any way I can.”

“8” details the case of two homosexual couples against the state of California. This unique look at actual evidence provided by the court documents provides the audience with an inside look at Proposition 8.

Testimonies from expert witnesses, families, and organizations on both sides of the issue can be heard throughout the script. “8” presents a fresh way of hearing controversial material.

While Hallowell has never appeared on stage before, he looks forward to working with Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre. “This production has enriched my Gannon experience. It’s given me experience to audition for Schuster shows later in my career.”

“8”, directed by Tony Gressley, will open at 8 p.m. Friday at PACA on 15th and State streets. “8” will also show at 8 p.m. Saturday. Details about the show and Dramashop can be found online at www.dramashoperie.org

 

CRISTEN MANION

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