Theater artist Brian Copeland’s one-man show The Waiting Period, which premiered at the Marsh San Francisco in 2012, is all about grappling with suicidal depression and what to do when you feel like nothing can be done. Despite the bleak subject matter, it’s a wonderfully funny show that explores some of the darkest depths of the human psyche.
Now the Marsh wants to present The Waiting Period for free so that as many people as possible who might be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts can see the show. The longtime hub for solo performance has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $150,000 to show The Waiting Period free to the public every Sunday night in 2016.
“Suicide among high school kids and college kids is through the roof,” Copeland says. “And a $30 to $100 ticket is not something that’s affordable to everyone and certainly is not something that’s affordable to a student. So that’s where the idea came from that I should just give this show away.”
A local comedian and talk show host, Copeland set the record for longest-running solo show in San Francisco history with 2004’s Not a Genuine Black Man at the Marsh, about growing up in one of the first African American families in San Leandro when it was still known as one of America’s most racist suburbs.
Copeland was having a particularly hard year in 2008. His grandmother died, his marriage fell apart, and he was badly injured in a car accident. Things got so bad that he bought a handgun with the intention of committing suicide. But in California, there’s a 10-day waiting period before you can actually take a firearm home, and during those 10 days Copeland got through the worst of his depression.