Actors in the reading of "8" (l-r) Jeff Demma and Jessica Silver, rehearse with Director Ross Martineau. Photo courtesy of "8"

Actors in the reading of “8” (l-r) Jeff Demma and Jessica Silver, rehearse with Director Ross Martineau. Photo courtesy of “8”

Q&A with Director Ross Martineau


A one-night-only reading of the play “8,” taken directly from the court transcript of Proposition 8, California’s controversial proposition against gay marriage, will take place on Saturday, October 13 at 7 p.m. at the KCC Performing Arts Center. The YWCA, in collaboration with Lambda Aloha, Pflag Kaua`i, Malama Pono and Ross Martineau, are the producers.

Martineau, a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild, is also the director. Twenty-one actors will read the play based on the transcripts of California’s Prop. 8 case. Readers will include Arnold Meister, Ron Wood, David Penhallow Scott, Jeff Demma, Jennifer Downs, Laurie Aguayo and Faith Harding. asked Director Martineau to give some background on the play “8” and explain the implications it has for society at large and also in Hawai`i and on Kaua`i.

In rehearsal with the play "8." Photo courtesy of "8"

In rehearsal with the play “8.” Photo courtesy of “8”


fk       Please give some background on the play.

rm       Dustin Lance Black, who won an academy award as the screenwriter for the movie Milk and who also wrote J. Edgar wrote a play based on Proposition 8, which is California’s controversial proposition against gay marriage. It’s key to know that California voters passed the proposition, but then the California Supreme Court overturned it.

The play is called “8” and is taken directly from the court transcript showing the arguments from each side and how the anti-gay marriage arguments were defenseless in the court of law.

The play is being performed all over the country in 2012. Two gala events have already occurred — a star-studded reading in New York City and an even starrier one in Los Angeles featuring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, Martin Sheen, Jane Lynch — to name just a few.

The umbrella producers, AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights) and Broadway Impact, invited theatrical companies interested in producing the show to apply to do so. Long story short, I was chosen to produce it here on Kaua`i. As of this interview, there are only two productions happening in Hawai`i — we were the first to be chosen.

fk       Do you know who or what group was key in filing the appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the decision?

rm     AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights.) This organization was formed for the sole purpose of fighting for the repeal of Prop. 8. Interestingly, the two lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, Theodore Olson and David Boies, were the opposing lawyers for the Bush v. Gore trial.

fk       What is the status of gay marriage in Hawai`i?

rm      Thanks to Governor Abercrombie, Hawai`i has passed a Civil Unions bill. This affords same sex couples some of the rights of married couples, but far from all. Many people are unaware that even in the states where same sex marriage is allowed, none of those rights is recognized on a federal level or in any other state. There are over 1,800 federal rights that are afforded to heterosexual married couples that do not apply to same sex couples.

fk       There are many people who are homophobic, don’t want to change the status quo and claim moral grounds as their reason to oppose gay marriage. Why should society advocate for gay marriage? What are the benefits to all?

rm       Equal rights and protections to all citizens of this country should be fought for by every American. We have already proven that separate is not equal with the struggle of women, African-Americans and interracial marriage.

 fk       What is the most important thing that you see this play can do for the community of Kaua`i?

rm        It shows that, in a court of law based on our constitution, if the moral and religious arguments are removed, as they should be if we are to uphold the belief in the separation of church and state, there is no case against same sex marriage.

fk       Few, if any, of the actors you mentioned who opened the play in Los Angeles are gay, yet they chose to read the play. Many of the Kaua`i actors are not gay and have chosen to read the play. Can you give some of the motivations for the non-gay actors who will participate here?

rm       First of all, there were many gay actors in the Los Angeles reading: Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer, Matthew Bomer, George Taki and Rory O’Malley are all gay. I would hope that all of the actors in the Kaua`i production have chosen to participate because they want to see marriage equality for all.

fk       Homophobia is as old as relationships between people of the same sex. Is there hope that society can overcome its homophobic fears and learn to not only live with, but support gay marriage?

rm        I think so. As a society, our views toward homosexuality have come leaps and bounds from where we were even 40 years ago. Until the early ‘70s, homosexuality was considered a mental illness! Now we have hit TV shows with gays in relationships, teen gays and gay parents. And most are happy and well adjusted. There will always be prejudice, but I truly believe we are heading in the right direction.

• • •

To learn more about “8” the project, click here and here.

“8” will play for one night only — Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. at the KCC Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10/advance; $12/door. Advance tickets are available from cast members and at the YWCA in Lihu`e, Scotty’s Music in Kalaheo, Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe, Larry’s Music in Kapa`a and the Healthy Hut in Kilauea.

For information, call 639-1873.

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