Stage & Dance

‘Gay Marriage Plays’ marks year since landmark court ruling

Tommy Gatton, left, and Burley Thomas star in “Strange Fruit,” one of several mini plays that make up “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” at the Lexington Public Library Farish Theater.
Tommy Gatton, left, and Burley Thomas star in “Strange Fruit,” one of several mini plays that make up “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” at the Lexington Public Library Farish Theater.

Years before the Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal in all 50 states, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays debuted. Now, just over a year since the high court’s decision, ActOut, Lexington’s LGBTQ community theater, is staging the show to celebrate.

It will be ActOut’s first production since The Happy Hour in 2011.

The Gay Marriage Plays are a collection of short plays that give a comical, warm approach to same-sex relationships.

“It is about marriage and relationships in general,” director Marcus Roland says.

Last June, Roland made a little gay marriage history himself, when he and his longtime partner, former Herald-Leader assistant features editor Scott Shive, became the first same-sex couple in Fayette County to obtain a marriage license, shortly after the Supreme Court decision was announced. They were married later that day, June 26, by Judge Ernesto Scorsone.

Roland says that being married now did spike his interest in presenting The Gay Marriage Plays as an ActOut production. “I also thought it was fitting for the first anniversary of the SCOTUS decision.”

Talk of traditional weddings, judgmental neighbors and nosy moms are a few of the issues that arise during the show. Anyone can relate, because everyone has these problems, Roland says.

“The history of not only gay marriage, but gay plight in society” is an important aspect of the plays,stage manager Marty Wayman says. A scene in the show refers to the assassination of President Kennedy and acknowledges the influence of the AIDS epidemic.

The plays are written by a handful of well-known writers, Wayman says, including Mo Gaffney, Jordan Harrison, Paul Rudnick and Doug Wright. “There is great writing all the way through,” she says.

Actor Tommy Gatton, who portrays two characters, says he hopes that people will take the show as “a shared experience. ... These are stories of love, and they are all fights that everybody has.”

The stories serve as reminders. It reinforces “where we have been and where we need to go,” actor Kim Dixon says of the play.

Although it has only been a year since the Supreme Court decision, Wayman says she hopes same-sex marriage will soon be considered “normal.”

“Soon enough, we will be just as bad at marriage as the straight people,” Wayman says, repeating a line in the script. “It will be just as normal and everyday as any other marriage or relationship.”

If you go

‘Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays’

When: 7:30 p.m. July 1, 2; 2 p.m. July 3

Where: Farish Theater inside Lexington Public Library, 140 E. Main Street

Tickets: $15 suggested donation at the door

Online: Actoutlex.wix.com/website

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