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UNH Debuts Landmark Marriage Equality Play '8' Feb. 7 and 10

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Associate professor David Kaye (center), director of the UNH production of "8," runs the cast and crew through a recent rehearsal.

UNH will present a staged reading of the play “8,” the nationally acclaimed production about marriage equality based on trial transcripts from California’s 2010 court fight over Proposition 8, the initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in the state, which has since been overturned.

Directed by associate professor David Kaye, the UNH production of “8” will be performed Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the MUB Strafford Room. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the MUB ticket office. To reserve tickets, www.unhmub.com/ticket. The UNH cast will perform a second reading of “8” Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved at www.palacetheatre.org.

The UNH production is one of the first in the nation and features a diverse cast made up of UNH faculty, students, staff, and alumni. It is being presented in partnership with the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the UNH Alliance, the Discovery Program and the student organizations Mask and Dagger and WildActs: Theatre for Social Justice, with American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact.

Created by Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black, “8” is an account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case filed by the AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples in California. Black based “8” on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families. The play is slated for multicity performances in 2012, including in Los Angeles with George Clooney.

At the Durham reading on Feb. 7, co-founder of Broadway Impact and Tony Award nominee Gavin Creel will discuss the play following the reading. In addition, Creel will attend an event that day with Kaye from 1 to 2 p.m. at the UNH Museum of Art, to discuss his Broadway musical career and why he co-founded Broadway Impact. This event is free and open to the public.

“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter,” Black said. “The goal of ‘8’ is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. AFER and Broadway Impact are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”

Kaye said UNH has been using theatre as a method of addressing social justice issues for many years.

“In 2004, we created a play on marriage equality to bring to area Rotary clubs. With this important issue once again coming to the State House floor, we were eager to join Broadway Impact to bring this equal rights play to our campus and the Palace Theatre in Manchester. It's a powerful script that reveals what is really at the heart of the issue,” he said.