Marriage — in today’s world, such a simple word is constantly evolving with new political, social, and spiritual implications.

Issues surrounding gay marriage will take Minetta Lane Theater’s stage next week in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays. A collection of short plays written by a well-attributed lineup of writers, Standing on Ceremony delves into the complex nature of relationships: opposite sex or otherwise.

Each short play focuses on a different political and social aspect of marriage inequality and sexism. For example, Jordan Harrison’s The Revision follows the story of two gay men who are writing their marriage vows. The characters slowly start to question the authenticity of traditionally heterosexual vows. On the opposite end of the social spectrum, Paul Rudnick’s The Gay Agenda explores the fictional life of a female Ohio homemaker, who happens to be a Focus on the Family member.

However, though the situations within the performances are wide ranging, they intersect at their assertion that all types of relationships have their challenges, and thus, should be treated equally.

Last Monday, Standing on Ceremony hosted a National Event, previewing the New York-based performance through staged theatrical readings in 40 theaters nationwide.

One such theater was at the University of Wyoming (UW) in the rural town of Laramie. The sleepy college town made headlines in the late ’90s when Matthew Shepard was murdered because of his sexual orientation. A fairly large anti-gay population still exists in Wyoming today.

The University of Wyoming’s active LGBTQ organization, Spectrum, decided to participate in the National Event nonetheless.

“We had been worried that there might be some protesters—we have our stock few here in Laramie—but it turned out to be rather peaceful,” commented Scott Cheney, one of the actors in Standing on Ceremony.

The cast consisted of a diverse mix of gay and straight students and community members.

“The actors were pumped for it,” said theater major and Standing on Ceremony actor Carlee Wilson, “and I felt that it went into the audience as well.”

The result was surprising for everyone involved. About 250 people attended the performance, including community members and a high number of supportive students and families.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Cecilia Aragón, the performance director and president of UW’s Women and Theatre Program. “I knew that there were people coming out to be supportive–friends, families that were coming out. But students came out in droves.”

“The performance went (no pun intended) off without a hitch,” stated Jeremy Smith, student actor in Standing on Ceremony’s “Strange Fruit.”

Some of the actors related to the characters and felt empowered after reading the manuscripts for their friends and family.

“I think what drove the play last night was just the passion that every actor had in reading their character,” Dr. Aragón said.

“This performance was about empowering,” commented Jeremy Ross Gross, one of the performance’s actors and musical theater student at the University of Wyoming. “It was about angering and riling people up. This was about gauging reaction and causing people to want to make a change.”

A discussion followed the theatrical readings. Many audience members expressed their support for gay rights and how emotionally affected they were while listening to the performance.

“This performance…could be viewed as my ‘coming out’ declaration,” Cheney added. “In it, I was able to present something very near and dear to my heart — the topic of gay marriage. And I was able to kiss another guy in front of my friends and some of my co-workers. While I was nervous at first to do such a declarative act, and come flying out of the closet like that, I feel such a sense of relief.”

This Monday, join New York’s original Standing on Ceremony cast for their opening night at the Minetta Lane Theatre. A portion of all ticket sales will go to Freedom to Marry and other organizations that support gay marriage. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit:

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