Students make case for marriage equality



Conservatory students performi a mock trial for a staged reading of ‘“8.”Conservatory students performi a mock trial for a staged reading of ‘“8.” PHOTO BY CAILLIN MURRAY

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” asked Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, played by senior acting major Kevin Mimms.

Solemnly raising their right hands, Kris Perry and Sandy Steir   — roles played by Conservatory students Sarah Cline and Lexie Tompkins, respectively — replied in unison, “I do.”

After being sworn in, Perry and Steir’s testimony began.

On Jan. 30, Webster University’s Conservatory students performed a staged reading of the play “8” by Dustin Lance Black at the Conservatory Spaces. Black, an Academy Award winner and screenwriter of the movie “Milk,” wrote “8” about Proposition 8 and the ensuing federal trial for marriage equality. Webster was the first university in the country to perform “8.”

The play follows the story of Kris Perry and Sandy Steir, a lesbian couple testifying in a California court for their right to marry after the introduction of Proposition 8 threatened to ban gay marriage.

Hunter Bell, a 1993 Webster alumnus and Tony Award nominee, was in the audience Monday night. Bell moderated a discussion following the show.

“Being gay, I am always for equal rights,” Bell said. “Just being an American citizen who believes in equality, I look forward to the day when this conversation isn’t happening and this will be a blip in our history.”

Michelle Bossy, a 2002 Webster alumna, directed the staged reading. She said it took the cast and directors less than 24 hours to prepare for the reading.

Performances of “8” are currently on a nationwide tour to different colleges and community theaters.






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