As most of you probably know, this quarter Elaine Vaan Hogue is directing a play by Emily Mann called Execution of Justice. Most of the script is comprised of the trial of the People vs. Dan White. White assassinated San Francisco mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk in November 1978.
I’m lucky enough to be part of this production, and I’ve been thinking about what it means to do this play at this point in time- why this story needs to be told now- so I was really excited to find that a similar play is currently emerging entitled ‘8’ written by Dustin Lance Black, chronicling the 2010 federal court battle that dealt with the legality of Proposition 8 in California. Its first production was on Broadway with a star-studded cast that included Morgan Freedman, and raised over $1 for American Foundation for Equal Rights. ‘8’ then appeared in Los Angles with George Clooney, and is now “coming to a theatre near you”
‘8’ seems to be in a very similar format to Execution of Justice, using text directly from the trial, which was actually recorded but its release was suppressed by supporters of Prop 8. ‘8’ is a chance for audience to see what actually happened in that trial.
I found it really interesting that ‘8’ will be traveling to states that are marriage equality ‘hotspots'; I’m not sure if the goal is to change people’s minds on the issue of gay marriage or to raise awareness and money within the community that are already supporters. The later seems more probable to me, I imagine it would be very difficult to actually get conservative audiences into the theatre… although George Clooney might help.