NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN
Hammer Theatre Center
Rhythmix Cultural Works
In 1971, The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing called San Leandro, California a 'racist bastion of white supremacy'. Newsweek magazine came to town. CBS aired a one hour television documentary. The US Commission on Civil Rights conducted hearing. And then, we moved to town. So begins Brian Copeland's solo play Not a Genuine Black Man. In this evening of laughter, tears and sociology, Copeland takes us through his upbringing as one of the only African Americans in a town that doesn't want his family there. It is an exploration of how our surroundings make us who we are that has become the longest running solo show in San Francisco theatrical history.
THE WAITING PERIOD
This show is an unrelenting look at a ten-day period in Copeland’s lifethe 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 depressionoften called the last stigmatized diseaseas 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.”
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