An LDS Response to "8"

A fantastic email response to the Script-In-Hand Series reading of “8” this past weekend, sent to Mark & April Fossen (who played David Boies and Sandy Stier, respectively). Hey Mark and April: I saw “8” tonight, and was really moved.  As an active Mormon for the last 7 or so years I’ve had a HUGE swing in beliefs to the gay marriage issue. When I first re-found Jesus, I sounded just like the villains of the play tonight, believing that it was going to ruin families, redefine marriage, threaten churches, etc. But, luckily, through my involvement in the theatre world and association with LGBT individuals I slowly started warming up to the idea.  And although I thought I was completely on the right side of the issue, I found I was changed again tonight. For the last few years my belief has been to just get rid of “marriage” and give everyone (gay and straight couples) civil unions and all the benefits associated with that.  The show tonight showed me how important it is for the dignity and respect of all involved that they can have a marriage, with the titles associated.  I’m not sure how I thought I was being a Christian several years ago by denying basic human happiness and dignity to others, but am proud now to hopefully be a pioneer in the LDS community in helping others to come to the same conclusions I have. Thanks for a transformative night of theatre. My heart was truly touched. Lanny Langston Click here for a photo slideshow of  Plan-B Theatre Company’s Script-In-Hand Series Reading of “8” held...

Jane & Tami Marquardt on marriage and "8"

Jane & Tami Marquardt have been major donors to (and subscribers of) Plan-B Theatre Company since 2001.  Tami currently serves as the vice president of Plan-B Theatre Company’s board of trustees.  Somewhere between the sermon and the final chorus at the Ogden Unitarian Church that August Sunday morning in 1998, there was a traditional five minute period where people were invited to “greet your neighbor.” We found ourselves face to face in a casual greeting that launched us into an amazing friendship and love affair. Now, in August 2012, our relationship has been benchmarked with five attempts at the legal commitment called marriage. “Five?” “Why?” you may ask. The background: We went to college in the late 60s and early 70s. Gay rights were not even much of a concept. Homosexuality was illegal in most states and was still diagnosed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. As we each discovered our sexuality, we went through decades of discovering what it meant to love someone in secret; what it meant to not have our families recognized; what it meant to feel the fear and prejudice in our lives over and over. Such things as: – Teaching high school in a neighboring town and fearing every day that I would lose my job if someone found out I was gay.  Then going home every night and listening to my children’s stories of cruel comments and actions from their classmates because of my sexual orientation and my feeling of helplessness because I couldn’t take away their pain. And participating in creating and raising an AI baby only to have...

Jerry Rapier on celebrating his first wedding anniversary with Kirt Bateman on July 24 and how it connects to "8"

Jerry Rapier has been Producing Director of Plan-B Theatre Company since 2000.  He married Kirt Bateman on July 24, 2011 in New York after 15 1/2 years together.  Jerry’s next directing project is Plan-B’s “8” on August 4-5 – Kirt plays the role of Charles Cooper. Homos have a hard time deciding how to determine anniversaries. For us, it’s December 28, 1995. Why? Because that was our first date. Kirt came to see a show I was in at TheatreWorks West (which was in residence at Westminster College). We got off to a rough start because the guy I had been dating was also at the show that night. Kirt waited patiently in the car for me – it was in that moment that I knew what a great guy he was. We then we went for late-night lattes at Firenze (which was where Mo’s Grill is now). We talked for hours. When we finally went back to get my car, we sat in the parking lot, not wanting the night to end. I asked Kirt if I could kiss him. He said yes! We were inseparable for the next week but then I had to head to Arizona for my brother Ryan’s wedding. When I returned to Salt Lake, we were again inseparable. So much so that by the end of the third week Kirt moved in with me. He was 20, I was 24, and it may have been smart to get to know each other a little better before doing that. But we were still together when December 28, 1996 rolled around; the idea of us...

Kevin Emerson & Beatrix (aka Trixi) Sieger on marriage and "8"

Kevin Emerson is a member of Plan-B Theatre Company’s board of trustees.  He and Beatrix (aka Trixi) are also subscribers and donors. Yes we do! We had done it! We found each other and knew we wanted to be together; to create something bigger than our individual selves by sharing our daily experiences with one another for the rest of our lives – we were getting married! For us, the personal commitment we made to each other was the most important. So, when we announced our engagement, we had already had our own two-person “wedding” of sorts. But we also wanted to share our commitment with our community of family and friends through a public and legally-recognized marriage ceremony. Of course, the tax advantages, insurance perks, and other legal privileges were also nice; but to be honest these seemed like “icing on the cake.” For each evening over several months, we worked together to plan all aspects of our wedding. One night – in the midst of wrapping spring bulbs in tulle – we started discussing how this whole “marriage” thing feels kind of wrong, considering that some of our closest friends are unable to freely and legally marry the person closest to their hearts. The very thing we were so immersed in was out of reach for our many of our friends. We grew quiet in our conversation as we thought of what it really meant to be in love and want to legally commit to one another only to have the law tell us “No” based solely on sexual orientation. Boy, is it easy to take things...

Terry Wood on same-sex marriage and "8"

Journalist Terry Wood appeared in Plan-B Theatre Company’s first AND THE BANNED SLAMMED ON.  He lent his voice to the world premiere of EXPOSED and will do so again for “8” on August 4-5. If you have never been to Mendocino, California, let me describe it for you  . . . in one word: idyllic. It is one of the most picturesque coastal villages in North America. A three hour drive north of San Francisco, through the wine country of Anderson Valley, through giant redwoods near the coast and you arrive at a small 19th century redwood logging village that has barely changed in the 21st century. Less than 900 people live in a town that still sports the water towers built more than 130 years ago. A town with no McDonald’s, no Taco Bell, no fast food. But plenty of good food and a slowed-down lifestyle wrings the city stress out of those who spend a few days here. It was in the shadow of one of those water towers behind the historic Packard House where my son, Damien Wood, married Andrew Hindman. March 27, 2007. The sun shone on this Pacific seaside town . . . and the love radiated even more as about 120 people from all over this country and a couple of European countries sipped champagne, listened to the Pacific Boy Choir and got misty-eyed when the minister delivered the sacred vows. I was there with my wife, Susan. Damien’s mother, Cyndee, was there from Ogden with her husband Curt. Andrew’s parents had flown in from the East Coast. Words cannot describe how proud,...

Ben Brown on marriage and "8"

Ben Brown is a member of Plan-B Theatre Company’s board of trustees.  He and Steve Verno are also subscribers and donors. After serving an LDS mission, I met Steve Verno. It was several months after returning home that I realized I couldn’t seem to change. I had always felt “different” but gave little thought to what being “gay” meant and continued my pursuit of eternal happiness. I put everything I could into understanding the history and teachings of the LDS Church. At the age of 12, I began experiencing feelings of same-sex attraction and understood completely the ramifications of any indiscretion. By the age of 17, I knew I wanted to go on a mission, and then continue with a career as an LDS seminary teacher. I studied the theology, the history and supplemental writings from various LDS scholars. I remember flipping through the pages of any book in the “self-help” section of Deseret Book, looking in the index for the words gay, homosexual, same-sex attraction, anything to understand more on the topic. Rarely would I find anything helpful – there was very little to say on the subject. Scripture can sum up the thesis of my religiously based study. In John 8:32, it reads “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I remember reading the book “Miracle of Forgiveness” on the topic of same-sex attraction. I remember feeling so alone and miserable that I decided to “turn to the Lord.” I quietly closed my bedroom door and knelt to pray. I remember making a pact with God that if he would deliver...

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