With George Clooney and Brad Pitt as two of the starring actors, the play “8″ debuted on Saturday night in L.A. Not only were George and Brad in it, but there was a whole lot of other A-list actors involved including Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Bacon, Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly, Chris Colfer and Matthew Bomer. The theater production, which was really a fairly improvised live reading, was broadcast live as well. The play is an account of the case filed by the American Federation for Equal Rights in the U.S. District Court in 2010 to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California.
Saturday’s staged reading had the actors reading from scripts on a courtroom set. George Clooney and Brad Pitt played a lawyer and a judge, as they dramatize the transcripts from the actual trial. What what I’ve read, the cast had an extremely brief rehearsal schedule, meeting for the first time on Saturday for two read throughs before the evening performance. The actual production was staged as a ‘reading’ so the actors used scripts, but this didn’t detract from it all all IMHO. It only added to the seemingly spontaneous and ‘live’ nature of the work. It also made it feel more real.
The performance was broadcast live online via YouTube. I’ve embedded the video here in case you want to watch it in full, or parts of it. It goes for about 2 hours in total. I have watched most of it and it is incredible. Not only is the script well written because they have condensed 12 days of court hearings into a 90 minute piece of theater using witness testimony, but it is unbelievable to see actors of such caliber putting their hands up to perform in this incredibly necessary and pertinent play. Have a watch of some of the scenes toward the end. I think Kevin Bacon and Martin Sheen are excellent.