American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

More than 200 Readings of “8” Across the Country

Post by Jenny Kanelos, co-founder and executive director of Broadway Impact

Broadway Impact and AFER confirmed our 200th reading of Dustin Lance Black’s “8” at Theatre B in Fargo, North Dakota!

Theatre B joins some of the nation’s largest regional professional theaters as well as scores of small town community theaters, churches, colleges, high schools and community groups staging “8” around the world.

Here are some  the names and faces of the folks producing “8” in communities across the country.

Ari Barbanell Kassirer, American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA:

“The reading of “8” provided the American Repertory Theater with the incredible opportunity for us to engage with our local artists and audiences and to hear these real words.  The message really hit home as we were reminded that here in Massachusetts, it is all too easy to take marriage equality for granted because it is legal here.  This event reminded us of our place within the greater political context of the debate, and that our voices can and should still be raised in neighboring communities.  The conversation about the show and the movement could have gone on for hours.”

Lindsey Duoos Williams, Riverland Community College in Riverland, MN:

“The most exciting part of producing “8” was being able to sit and talk about it after the show, and hear how it had affected the audience and the cast.  We were able to have a bit of a “strategy session”: how can we keep telling this story and keep the discussion going on the road towards equality? We have a very important election coming up in November.  Unfortunately voting “no” on the Minnesota marriage amendment won’t mean that same-sex marriage is legal in our state—yet.  But it does mean that we can keep the conversation going with our friends, family and neighbors.  This is an issue that is personal to me, and we need to help more people realize that it’s personal to them, too.”

Alex Picard, New England College in Henniker, NH:

“All it took was a phone call.  After hearing about ‘8,’ I brought the project to our students and fellow faculty – they needed no time to think about it, the answer was yes.  Our community needed it and our students are passionate to share.  People could not stop talking about this event for weeks afterwards.  The difference was the energy surrounding the discussion of marriage equality. Two of the audience members attended with the belief that marriage between LGBT couples should not be allowed, and left having changed their minds and their votes.”

Joe Angel Babb,The Alley Theatre in Houston, TX:

 ”Same-sex marriage issues confront the entire community.  The discussions and consequences crisscross between culture, morality and legality.   “8″ reminded me that respect and rationale are the best responses to phobia and intolerance.  It’s not the easiest path, but there is grace in it.  This play gives all of us an opportunity to reexamine our lives in the mirror that the play holds up before us, ever challenging our thoughts, opinions, and often, our deepest desires. “

Mary Trotter, Washington State University in Pullman, WA:

“Producing “8″ was a no-brainer!  When a friend made me aware of this opportunity my instincts said “we HAVE to do this!” This conversation is not really happening on the east side of Washington State; I felt a responsibility to help get it started.  Last February Washington State’s legislative and executive branches enacted a law in support of marriage equality.  Through our talk back we realized many people think “that’s it, we’ve got it, we don’t have to fight for it any more!”  That’s not true.  We’ll be voting on Referendum 74 in the November election.  Whether or not your state has a law in the works that supports marriage equality, we have to keep the conversation going so the community has all the facts about what needs to be done to see it through.”

Join the “8” Movement!

Find a reading near you, or stage a reading at your theater or on your campus.