The Marsh Berkeley Celebrates Black History Month With NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN
The Marsh Berkeley celebrates Black History month with a special, one-night-only performance of Not a Genuine Black Man, the longest running solo show in San Francisco theater history. This funny, honest, and harrowing piece by award-winning actor, playwright, and talk show host Brian Copeland recounts the struggles Copeland faced growing up in what was declared one of the most racist suburbs in America.
"In the current political climate, empathy seems to be a lost commodity. By showing people the world through the eyes of a bullied and lonely little African-American boy, I hope they will develop compassion for the demonized 'other,'" says Copeland. The San Francisco Chronicle described the show as "relentlessly introspective and disarmingly honest, Copeland takes apart the false notion that black masculinity is some monolithic concept, in a way that has continued, unfortunately, to be relevant long after the show's 2004 premiere."
Not a Genuine Black Man will be performed 5:00pm, Saturday, February 8 at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. For tickets ($20-$35 sliding scale, $55-$100 reserved) or more information, the public may visit www.themarsh.org or call The Marsh Box office at 415-282-3055 (open Monday through Friday, 1:00pm-4:00pm).
In 1972 The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing called San Leandro a "racist bastion of white supremacy," becoming the subject of features on CBS News and Newsweek among other national outlets. As the US Commission on Civil Rights conducted hearings, Copeland's family moved to town - where they faced astonishing and humiliating harassment and isolation. A critically acclaimed exploration of race, identity, and empathy, Not a Genuine Black Man offers a unique blend of laughter, tears, and social commentary. During a previous run, Theatrius declared "Copeland tells stories like a master. The tenderness and intimacy of Copeland's storytelling gives way to a rigorous examination of the complexities of Black identity and masculinity."
Not a Genuine Black Man is the longest running solo play in San Francisco theatrical history. The San Francisco Chronicle hailed Copeland's work "a beautiful mix of wry humor and heartbreak, indignation and inspiration, a singular story of extreme isolation that speaks to anyone who's ever felt out of place." Successful runs in Los Angeles and Off-Broadway, and a bestselling book adaptation followed for Not a Genuine Black Man. Copeland's book has been listed as required reading at high schools and colleges throughout the nation. It was also chosen as part of Santa Clara County's "Silicon Valley Reads," an annual community program that selects books focused on a contemporary theme to engage the public in reading, thinking, and discussing current topics in the community.
Brian Copeland (Writer/Performer) has been in show business since he first stepped on the comedy stage at age 18. Soon, he was headlining clubs and concerts across the country and opening for such artists as Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Ringo Starr, and Aretha Franklin, in venues from The Universal Amphitheater to Constitution Hall in Washington DC. Copeland then branched off into television, appearing on comedy programs on NBC, A&E and MTV. He spent five years as co-host of San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU breakfast program Mornings on 2 and two years hosting San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO's Emmy Award winning afternoon talk show 7Live. His first network special, Now Brian Copeland, premiered on NBC after Saturday Night Live for West Coast audiences in January 2015. In 1995, KGO Radio premiered The Brian Copeland Show. With his unique blend of humor and riveting talk, the program was the most listened to program in its time slot, reaching more than 100,000 listeners.
Copeland's other theatrical work includes his acclaimed play The Waiting Period, a story of combatting depression; The Scion, a tale of privilege, murder, and sausage, which received its World Premiere at The Marsh in January 2014; and the critically acclaimed Christmas classic, The Jewelry Box. His next play, GRANDMA & ME: An Ode to Single Parents, will debut at The Marsh this April.
David Ford (Director) has been collaborating on new and unusual theater for three decades and has been associated with The Marsh for most of that time. The San Francisco press has variously called him "the solo performer maven," "the monologue maestro," "the dean of solo performance," and "the solo performer's best friend." Collaborators include Geoff Hoyle, Echo Brown, Brian Copeland, Charlie Varon, Marilyn Pittman, Rebecca Fisher, Wayne Harris, and Marga Gomez. As a director, Ford has directed both solo and ensemble work regionally at The Public Theater, Second Stage, Theatre for the New City (NY), Highways (LA) and Woolly Mammoth (Washington, DC) as well as at theaters around the Bay Area including Magic Theatre and Marin Theatre Company. He is also a published playwright.
The Marsh is known as "a breeding ground for new performance." It was launched in 1989 by Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman, and now annually hosts more than 600 performances of 175 shows across the company's two venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. A leading outlet for solo performers, The Marsh's specialty has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "solo performances that celebrate the power of storytelling at its simplest and purest." The East Bay Times named The Marsh one of Bay Area's best intimate theaters, calling it "one of the most thriving solo theaters in the nation. The live theatrical energy is simply irresistible."