During February, in honor of Black History month, Brian Copeland will be performing his mega-hit show, Not A Genuine Black Man, at The Marsh San Francisco. Then, in March, his critically acclaimed show about depression, THE WAITING PERIOD, will resume its sold-out run. The Marsh could not be more proud of this very special show’s continuing and significant contribution to the local discussion and understanding of this often fatal disease. It is not an easy subject, and yet, on March 30, the last day of the run, we will be celebrating its 100th PERFORMANCE on our stage.
The show plays on Friday at 8:00 pm and Saturday at 5:00 pm on The Marsh MainStage, 1062 Valencia Street in San Francisco. For tickets, the public may visit www.themarsh.org <http://www.themarsh.org/> or call 415-282-3055.Fridays are Educator Nights. Please note: teachers, students and those working in the mental health field get special discounts. For information call 415-282-3055.
Copeland, a multi-talented actor, playwright, author and talk show host, has basked in the glow of both public and critical acclaim for nearly a decade. And yet, along with such other well-known figures as Mike Wallace, Tipper Gore and Yves San Laurent, he suffers from debilitating bouts of depression. As William Styron, another well-known sufferer, put it: “Mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience…depression takes on the quality of physical pain…it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion.”
This show is an unrelenting look at a ten-day period in Copeland’s life—the mandatory ten-day waiting period before he could lay his hands on the newly purchased gun with which he planned to take his own life. Even in the midst of this tragedy, however, his wonderful sense of the comedy of life does not desert him (how much should he spend on the gun?), indeed serves him insidiously well as a buffer against the grim reality of his intention. Copeland hopes this very personal, and ultimately redemptive, story will reach people who struggle with depression—often called the last stigmatized disease—as well as their families and loved ones. Interspersed with interviews with other sufferers, the play, like so many Marsh stories, also offers outsiders an insider’s view, thereby expanding our understanding and, hopefully, our humanity. As critic Sam Hurwitt put it in The Idiolect: “It’s a play I’d strongly recommend to anyone who is now or has ever been depressed or who knows someone in that situation. But honestly, it’s such a strong piece that I’d recommend it just as heartily to anyone who’s ever been human.”
In 1995, San Francisco ABC radio affiliate KGO premiered The Brian Copeland Show that remains the most listened to program in its time slot. His previous hit show, Not A Genuine Black Man, ended a seven-year run at The Marsh Berkeley earlier this year.