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Proposition 8

09.06.2012

Who would’ve thought that court transcripts would make such compelling drama? An entire three levels of theatre seats, that’s who. Yesterday, Her Majesty’s in Melbourne was brimming with patrons, including some high-profile celebrities, all there for the once-off reading of 8.

The play 8 is based on court proceedings currently taking place in California. Two couples, both same-sex, are challenging the legality of Proposition 8, which denies them the right to marry. The arguments are spectacular – one side draws on common sense, human decency and constitutional law, while the other argues a case for retaining traditional, outdated social constructs and ultra-conservative religious ideologies.

is a one-night-only affair (in Melbourne yesterday, in Sydney today). The all-star cast includes Rachel Griffiths, Tony Martin, Daniel MacPherson, Magda Szubanski, Jay Laga’aia and Lisa McCune. It’s already been performed in America, with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and half the Glee cast.

The American version was filmed and even had a pseudo set (you can see the film here), but the production feels staged. The Aussie version is much more dynamic, and the actors milk the appalling yet comical moments for all they’re worth, such as Magda Szubanski’s performance as Maggie Gallagher, the abrasive, slightly mad gay marriage antagonist. (You can tell Magda’s relishing this role, which makes her all the more fun to watch.) And Shane Jacobson is simply marvellous as the bumbling David Blankenhorn.

I really hope the production was filmed. I want to see a repeat of Magda’s Gallagher impressions, especially the bit where she rants on about marriage being a sacred union reserved for men and women who ‘procreate naturally’, because “a baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on”. Only Magda could deliver a line that outrageous and make it hilarious.

With some juicy verbal abuse and mud-slinging interviews inserted for good measure, 8 is a funny, thought-provoking, enraging and engaging night of theatre. If you’re in Sydney tonight (Saturday 9 June), get yourself a ticket and keep the conversation going, because the more we talk about equal marriage rights, the more public awareness will build, and the more chance we have of convincing politicians to turn proposed equal marriage legislation into law.

 

8 is playing at Sydney Town Hall 7:30pm Saturday 9 June. Tickets are $69/$99 and you can book at Ticketmaster. For more information about the show and for a full cast list, visit the official 8 website.

 

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