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March 23, 2015

Contemporary gay issues explored in CPT’s ‘Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays’

By Elisabeth Weems
Contributor

“Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” addressed difficulties specific to same-sex couples in contemporary American society. This hilarious, thought-provoking, unique series of short plays depicted a variety of slice-of-life scenarios.

Marriage and its definition has been widely debated in social, historical and religious conversations. The 21st century marks a new era of acceptance and equality in the U.S. Matrimony is under conceptual reconstruction as perceptions change and states pass legislation that legitimizes same-sex nuptials.

In 90 minutes and nine acts, with a short intermission, examples of recognizable issues promote the normalcy of gay engagements. This includes pre-wedding jitters, lack of acceptance by peers and parents and frustration with writing vows.

The audience followed the route of a projected, rainbow-colored van cross-country while the ensemble contrasted each state’s restrictions and freedoms. As the play progressed, an increasing number of states turned red, which signified a legal recognition of gay marriage.

Today, 36 states in the U.S. hold this position, but in the “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” world, the country eventually comes to an era in which “the politics and legal quagmires surrounding marriage equality have faded away,” wrote director Craig J. George in the program.

Written by eight playwrights and performed by seven cast members, “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” brilliantly and seamlessly consolidated different artistic visions. Conceived by Brian Shnipper, this social commentary argued for the simplicity of gay marriage in a world that unnecessarily complicates it.

Perspectives included the mother of a gay man, a man who recently lost his life partner, lesbians and gays preparing for marriage and opinionated Facebook posters. Each scene creatively utilized tan, wooden chairs as props.

“Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” was a clever success that evoked a good laugh, hearty cry and awakened consciousness. It ran from March 6-21.