The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

It’s not easy using humor and wit to expose heavy subjects such as racism, domestic violence, or suicide, but Brian Copeland did it in his 2004 solo performance Not a Genuine Black Man. It enjoyed a 25-month run in the Bay Area before expanding to include a spotlight on Broadway. The story by the local talk-show host of growing up black in San Leandro in the 1970s — which was almost all white because of discriminatory real estate laws — has also been published as a book. Copeland’s latest show, Waiting Period, zooms in on that story, focusing on one of the most difficult times in his life — a period when he had nearly resolved to end his life. He spent time peering over a railing on the Golden Gate Bridge. He tried dozing off in a car filling with carbon monoxide (but was rescued by a neighbor). He decided that he needed a gun to really get the job done. The problem was, he had to wait 10 days, by law, before the state would clear him to take a firearm home. During those 10 days, more ruminations developed for Copeland, such as whether the gun he’d picked out was stylish enough for the task, or whether he really should be thinking of using it at all. This “cooling off period” was when Copeland learned to do battle with depression. You’ll laugh. You might cry. Either will seem appropriate.
Thu., Feb. 2; Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 2. Continues through Aug. 4, 2012

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