On Stage

Standing on Ceremony

Saying ‘I do’ to gay marriage

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In the summer of 2010, I flew to Idaho to attend a close friend’s wedding.

It was a lovely affair. The sun was shining, the flower girl was as cute as a kitten meme and scores of friends and family were on hand to help usher the couple into the next phase of their lives. The only problem with the ceremony was that, since the duo getting married were both women, it wasn’t a legal, binding commitment.

“I never thought I’d actually see the day when gay marriage would be legalized in Idaho,” the same friend told me on my most recent visit to Boise a couple of weeks ago. “I thought it might happen here eventually, but probably not in my lifetime.”

To say she was surprised when the Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex marriage was a go in all 50 of the United States—including conservative ones like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Idaho—is putting it mildly.

Similarly, when Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays debuted in 2011 in New York City, it was meant to draw attention to recent advances concerning marital rights for gay and lesbian couples. Supporters who looked at the struggle as a civil rights issue didn’t know how long it would take to gain equality throughout the country, but hoped it would be sooner rather than later.

In the eight short plays that are part of Standing on Ceremony—which kicks off Western Washington University’s latest theater season with performances starting Oct. 22 at the DUG Theater—contemporary playwrights took a look at the laws that were currently in effect concerning same-sex marriage and tailored their text to reflect them.

For example, in Jordan Harrison’s The Revision, two men on the eve of their big event struggle to define their vows. They’re not going to be legally married, so the words “wedding” and “wedded” are out. Then again, “lawfully civil-unioned” or “domestic partnered” don’t exactly roll off the tongue. What’s a fella to do?

Audiences will discover the answer to that question, and more. For example, Wendy MacLeod’s The Flight Tonight asks if there’s any hope for happiness when a lesbian marriage begins in Iowa (not to be confused with Idaho).

There’s more. Neil La Bute’s story of two men in love who plan to get married the “old-fashioned way” are stymied when reality sets in in Strange Fruit. In White Marriage, Jeffrey Hatcher chronicles a wife and husband discussing his “gay” sense of humor. Jose Rivera’s Pablo and Andrew at the Altar of Words features two men using their vows to say the things that are not often said.

Paul Rudnick’s The Gay Agenda takes a look at the subject matter from the opposing side, focusing on a “sadly hilarious” plea for understanding from a conservative Ohio homemaker who also happens to be member of a variety of organizations against same-sex marriage—such as the Traditional Family Delta Force and the Aryan Family Freedom Fighters.

The character, Mary Abigail Carstairs-Sweetbuckle, recounts how her seemingly friendly gay neighbors have infiltrated her psyche. She’s hearing their voices in her head, in fact, telling her to lose weight (among other things). She’s peeved, and she wants it to stop. “They’re taking jobs away from black women!” she rails at one point in the play.

While audiences will see both comedic and poignant elements in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, they’ll also see activism in action. When the plays debuted four years ago, it was with an agenda that wasn’t fully realized. Now, it is.

More On Stage...
Blues Bros
Catching up with Elwood and Jake

Elwood Blues isn’t a real person, but he might as well be.

When Dan Aykroyd first channeled the character in 1978 during a memorable sketch on Saturday Night Live, he probably didn’t think he’d still be bringing the harmonica player and vocalist to life 40 years later, or that fellow…

more »
Love is Love
La Cage aux Folles

Love scenes can be difficult to pull off with finesse, but a memorable moment of tenderness during Bellingham Theatre Guild’s rendition of the musical La Cage aux Folles had me not only reaching for a hankie, but also grinning from ear to ear.

While much of the show is gloriously bawdy,…

more »
Colored Diamonds
An evening of flamenco

Savannah Fuentes’ pathway to becoming a sought-after Flamenco dancer reads somewhat like a Lifetime movie of the week.

While Fuentes doesn’t quite fit the “women in jeopardy” stereotype these female-focused flicks are known for, her story does check the box when it comes to going through…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bringing Memoir Alive

5:00pm|Village Books

Art Uncorked!

5:00pm|Windows on the Bay

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Pub Run

6:00pm|BBay Running

Healthy Meal Planning

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Cruisin' the Fossils Coastline with Ray Troll

7:00pm|Village Books

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Zambia Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

La Cage Aux Folles

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Sh*tty Ted Talks

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Wind in the Willows

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

CW Survey 1
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

La Cage Aux Folles

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

The Wind in the Willows

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Fall Garage Sale

9:00am|Skagit Valley Fairgrounds

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Museum Advocates Tag Sale

5:00pm|Syre Education Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Commercial Street Night Market

6:00pm|Commercial Street

International Day of Peace Community Dinner

6:00pm|Majestic

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Banned Books Week Kickoff

6:30pm

John Whelan, Hayley Richardson

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

African Children's Choir

7:00pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Anna's Home

7:00pm|Village Books

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Courthouse Comedy

8:00pm|Territorial Whatcom County Courthouse

Internetland

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 CW Survey 1
Saturday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

The Wind in the Willows

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

La Cage Aux Folles

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Fall Garage Sale

9:00am|Skagit Valley Fairgrounds

Museum Advocates Tag Sale

5:00pm|Syre Education Center

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Internetland

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

American Legion Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Queens of Dirt Mountain Bike Race

9:00am| Lake Padden Park

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Twin Sisters Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner, North Fork Library

Skagit Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival

9:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Community Cider Press

10:00am|Chuckanut Center

Kitchen Cutlery Class

10:00am|Blaine Library

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

From Weapons to Art

10:00am| Gentry House

Lynden Farmers Market

10:00am|Centennial Park

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Museum Day Live!

10:00am|Whatcom Museum, Lynden Pioneer Museum, Skagit County Historical Museum, and Bellingham Railway Museum

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Fall Into the Holidays

10:00am|Birch Bay Activity Center

Sundial and Mural Celebration

12:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Fall Bunting Workshop

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Lynden Cemetery Tour

1:00pm|Lynden Cemetery

Trial Vineyard Open House

1:00pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

The Politics of Conservation

2:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Artist Talk with Allen Moe

4:00pm|i.e. gallery

Kulshan CLT Community Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Fall Demo Derby

6:30pm|NW Washington Fairgrounds

Lake Memoir

7:00pm|Village Books

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Songs of the Salish Sea

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Official Blues Brothers Revue

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Stories of the Salish Sea

7:30pm| Lummi Island Library

Catching up with Elwood and Jake

7:30pm

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 CW Survey 1 Village Books Trove Web CW Survey2 Blue Brothers