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Not a Genuine Black Man

NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN – 20th Anniversary Revival

In 1971, Fair Housing advocates considered San Leandro one of the most racist suburbs in America. CBS aired a special in the situation. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights conducted hearings. The next year, eight-year-old Copeland and his African-American family moved in. In an evening of laughter, tears and sociology, “Not a Genuine Black Man” is a hilarious and insightful look at Bay Area history, and at the ways in which our upbringings make us who we are.

“Not a Genuine Black Man” broke records as the longest-running solo show in San Francisco history and brought Copeland critical acclaim as one of the city’s most talented and engaging solo performers.

The Waiting Period

THE WAITING PERIOD

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. 

Grandma & Me - Brian Copeland

GRANDMA AND ME

Raising a child alone is a struggle.
Raising multiple children alone is an odyssey.

In 1979, Brian Copeland’s mother died suddenly, leaving behind 5 children for his 57-year-old grandmother to raise alone. 22 years later, Brian finds himself in the same predicament when the end of a marriage leaves him alone with his three kids. Through laughter and tears, he compares and contrasts trials of single parenting in the 1970s and the dawn of the 21st century as he tries to answer the question… What does it truly mean to be a father?

Brian Copeland's The Jewelry Box

THE JEWELRY BOX

In this hilarious and heartwarming prequel to his hit show “Not a Genuine Black Man,” beloved actor-playwright Brian Copeland recounts two memorable weeks in his youth when he took to the “mean streets” of Oakland to buy his mom the perfect Christmas gift. Rife with references to 1970s Oakland, “The Jewelry Box” follows six-year-old Brian’s adventures as he scours the help-wanted ads, applies for jobs and collects bottles, inching his way toward the coveted present, a jewelry box at the Hegenberger White Front store.