A recent live stream reading of a play about Proposition 8 — the ballot that tried to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying in the state of California, which sparked protests against it worldwide — drew 200,000 viewers according to its director, none other than Rob Reiner. The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) staged the one-night only reading in L.A. — verbatim-style, which is constructed from actual dialogue spoken by people during real-life events. In this case, it was based on the transcripts from the Perry vs. Schwarzeneggger trial, which AFER filed with the district court to overturn Prop 8. The play — simply titled 8 — was written by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and featured an all-star cast including George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Brad Pitt, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, and Kevin Bacon.
The case featured a lesbian couple (played by Curtis and Christine Lahti) with children, and a gay couple (played by Glee's
Matthew Morrison and Matt Bomer — who will be appearing in Magic Mike
) that want to marry. Sheen's performance as attorney Theodore B. Olson — the lawman who challenged the amendment banning same-sex marriage — alongside fellow prosecutor David Boies (played by Clooney) was apparently stunning to behold. Fellow co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson told the New York Daily News
, "I knew that Martin Sheen was going to get a huge ovation after that speech because we applauded for him in rehearsal."
There are plans to stage the work around the country with local actors at colleges and community playhouses. If you'd like to see the celebrity version, check out the video below, and click on the pop-up prompt that leads you to the beginning of the play.