Marsh Theater's 'Countercoup' Takes Audience to Rehab

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Through Oct. 20. Tickets are $15-35; call 800-838-3006 or visit www.themarsh.org for more info.
At the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (between 21st and 22nd streets) S.F.

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Over the past 15 years, the Marsh has developed a very successful system of attracting solo artists or would-be performers to develop their life stories for the stage. With a combination of in-house directors (David Ford and Charlie Varon), classes and venues to preview smaller sections of developing work, and a main stage to show off the best full-length material, the Marsh has created a hybrid style of theater that is best described as long-form storytelling. The resulting work is not always slick or completely polished and is often performed by storytellers fairly new to the stage, but the experience is always an intimate look into another person's life. Countercoup's writer and performer Mark McGoldrick did not train as an actor (in fact, he works as a public defender in the East Bay), but when he rolls onstage in the wheelchair he is confined to, he has quite a story to tell. His rebellious youth of drinking and fighting was cut short when an accident paralyzed him from the waist down. Much of this play focuses on his wonderfully detailed struggle in rehabilitation and the stormy relationships with his family and a good friend. As an actor, McGoldrick is still discovering the material and often indulges a few beats too long or ventures into slightly clichéd material. But as a storyteller he imbues his history with a rough, casual poetry and a soulful wisdom that an actor could never bring.

 
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