On March 3, Los Angeles' Wilshire Ebell Theater was treated to a star-filled reading of Dustin Lance Black's play, "8," about the Federal District Court's trial to overturn Proposition 8. The benefit was presented by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact. The play is drawn from actual court testimony and interviews. The likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Chris Colfer and Kevin Bacon helped enliven the content and draw a high profile crowd. The LA Times reports the reading was a "powerful and indeed often moving spectacle," and reminds that "The suspense of the offstage drama is only building. But after the stars aligned on Saturday, the arc of the moral universe seems glamorously bent toward justice." More from their review as well as video of the complete play below:
THR says many of Hollywood's same-sex marriage supporters were present, and reiterates Clooney's conversation with The Advocate in which he stated; "Who does it hurt if someone thinks I'm gay? I'll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don't give a shit,.."I think it's funny, but the last thing you'll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, 'These are lies!' That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I'm not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing."
"No one would ever mistake Pitt and Clooney for their real-life characters (Hollywood glamour like theirs doesn’t come with a law degree). But it’s a sign of the changing times that leading men of the first rank no longer feel any hesitation about lending their names to an issue that is now at the forefront of the fight for gay and lesbian equality,..Of course this isn’t just about gays and lesbians. When Henrik Ibsen was honored by a women’s group for defending their rights in 'A Doll’s House,' he thanked the group but reminded them that for him it was always a matter of human rights. That the fight for marriage equality is beginning to be seen as a human rights concern is another indication of the enormous progress that has already been made,..Clooney, whose sharp stage presence should have Broadway producers drawing up wish lists of plays for him, was his smooth, charismatic self,..Black, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for 'Milk,' tries his best to give a balanced account of the proceedings, but he has to be faithful to the record. And the side that lost, lost for a reason,..Bacon played Charles Cooper, lead attorney for the Proposition 8 defense team, not as a caricature but as a man who fervently believes that same-sex marriage is an assault on tradition. But the arguments that his character musters are so weak and the evidence so paltry that it often doesn’t seem a fair contest. If this were a fictional rather than fact-based drama, the advice would be to beef up the pathetic defense,..The most moving moments for me were Chris Colfer’s portrayal of Ryan Kendall, a young man who underwent gay 'reparative therapy' to satisfy his intolerant family, Lahti’s turn as Kris Perry, a plaintiff who imagines a future where same-sex marriage is no longer an unthinkable possibility, and Sheen’s impassioned delivery of Olson’s closing arguments in a case in which, as we’re told, fear and bigotry were placed on trial, where they withered under scrutiny."