Help us help people with depression

$18,610 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 179 people in 3 months
The Marsh in San Francisco and Brian Copeland are trying to raise $75,000 so that they can present Brian's show "The Waiting Period" weekly for one year (2018) free of charge to the public.

The reason is that the show has literally saved lives by getting people to seek help. Suicidal people have changed their minds and reached out after seeing the show.

We want young people in high school and college who can't afford to the $30 to $100 to have access to the show and its message, which is "You're not alone. If you're struggling, Tell Someone."

The Marsh is a registered 501(C)(3) nonprofit and all donations are 100% tax deductible.

About "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 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.”

About Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland has been in show business since he first stepped on the comedy stage at the tender age of 18. Soon he was headlining clubs and concerts across the country and opening for such artists as Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Ringo Starr, and the Queen of soul Aretha Franklin, in venues from The Universal Amphitheater to Constitution Hall in Washington DC. Soon, Copeland 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 talker "7Live."

In 1995, ABC affiliate KGO Radio premiered “The Brian Copeland Show.” Its unique mix of talk and entertainment soon made it the most listened to program in its time slot. Copeland branched out into theater in 2004 with his first solo play, "Not A Genuine Black Man." This critically acclaimed exploration of race and identity created an audience pleasing blend of laughter, tears and sociology that led to the show becoming the longest running solo play in San Francisco theatrical history. Successful runs in Los Angeles and Off Broadway and a bestselling book adaptation followed. "Genuine" has been performed in over 30 cities across America.


Taking aim at depression with ‘Waiting Period’ crowdfunding -

Alameda: Copeland's acclaimed 'Waiting Period' comes to Altarena -

Combating Depression with a Year of Free Theater - KQED Arts

After Robin Williams’s Suicide, Brian Copeland Revives His Show About Depression - Newsweek Magazine

Robert Hurwitt's San Francisco Chronicle review of "The Waiting Period"

Sam Hurwitt's The Idiolect review of "The Waiting Period"

Chad Jones' TheaterDogs review of "The Waiting Period"
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“I actually tossed a coin to decide whether to go to your play or the Golden Gate Bridge.”

It never ceases to amaze me to hear from people who are walking this Earth today only because they've seen THE WAITING PERIOD. A woman wrote me recently that she had been suicidal for quite some time and was really at the end of her rope. She was sad, alone and despondent. A few weeks ago, she decided that she was going to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. She sat in a local cafe, sipping what she thought would be her last cup of coffee and planning.

“I sat down and the pink section of the San Francisco Chronicle was on the table opened to the theater section and my eye just happened to catch the title of your show. I read the description and saw that it was free, which was good because I'm broke. I had never heard of you or your play before and I wondered if it was a sign. I decided to test it. I actually tossed a coin to decide whether to go to your play or the Golden Gate Bridge. It was heads I go to your play, tails I jump off the bridge. If it hadn't come up tails, I wouldn't be writing you today.”

The woman came to the performance and my reenactment of the despair I felt during the darkness of my own suicidal bout of depression spoke to her. She took the show's message to “Tell Someone” to heart. After the play, she didn't head to the bridge. Instead, she went to her sister's house and told her what she was feeling. She got help. Because she did, she is still with us today.

Please help me to save more people like this by making a tax deductible contribution to THE WAITING PERIOD project here.

We've raised enough to do three more shows. I'd like to keep it free to the public for the rest of 2018. Please help me to help others who are struggling with suicide and depression.
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After last Sunday night's performance of The Waiting Period at the Marsh in San Francisco, a woman from the audience pulled me aside and asked me an interesting question.
“I thought the show was really brave,” she said. “I was wondering how it's affected you. Has doing it hurt you in any way?”
It's a question I've actually been asked quite a few times over the years since I originally opened the play in 2012, detailing a suicidal bout of depression I suffered in 2008. Truth is, performing that show has hurt me in a few ways.
The initial run of the Waiting lasted 18 months. The critics were beyond kind with the San Francisco Chronicle giving me the coveted “little man jumping out of the chair.” The consensus was that most people had never seen anything like it on the stage; a man allowing strangers to rummage around in his soul as he recreates the worst time of his life.
For the most part, the original run drew three types of people. There were theater afficiandos who appreciate the art form. There were curiosity seekers who wanted to see how far I'd go with the story of purchasing a gun to end it all during a suicidal bout. Most importantly (and the reason for the whole damned thing in the first place), there were people struggling with depression and mental illness who needed to know that there was somebody else who'd been there and understood what they were going through. I think that, for the most part, I was successful in satisfying these various constituencies. I was also successful at almost driving myself back to that depressed state.
​You see, on the stage, when I act out the scenes where I was in that sick and clinically depressed state, I go there emotionally. As an actor, I take on all of those feelings of despair and hopelessness. I have to in order to make it real for the audience. If I fake it, it won't have the desired impact it needs to achieve in order to truly affect people. So, I deliberately invite that darkness on the stage with me in those scenes.
It was fine for a while. Then about six months into the run, it started to get harder and harder to turn it off once the lights went down and the performance ended. It began to suck me in. I guess it really is true that you can only play with fire so many times before you finally get singed. I had to stop. That's the reason I ended a sold out run. It's also why the show has never toured. I can't dance with the demon night after night and remain unaffected. I can however, do it once a week with no negative impact on my psyche and help a lot of people.
So, the answer is yes. Doing this play has had a detrimental effect on me at times, but I think that any problems it's created for me are worth it because of the vast number of people it's helping. The stories I hear from suicidal people who see the show and don't go through with it, people in denial about their depression who figure that if I can spill my guts to strangers then they can get help and family members who didn't “get” what their loved ones were wrestling with and then saw the show and gained a better understanding make any discomfort I might feel absolutely worthwhile. I hope that you think so too.
Will you please help me and the Marsh continue presenting this show free to the public by making a tax deductible contribution? We're literally saving lives. Help us, won't you?
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THE WAITING PERIOD is changing lives! Check out this email I just received from a college student who saw the play last year and then, please help us to continue the work with a tax deductible donation if haven’t.

“The Waiting Period, changed my life. I saw it a little over a year ago at DVC Campus. I can remember this like it was yesterday because although I knew about suicide and depression, I never truly knew how it related to me. The part of the play where you talked about going to the speaking engagement at the school and the cheerful energetic girl who approached you after you spoke...I saw myself in that character. In fact it was like hearing about someone else speak of me. No one never understood the dark place I often found myself in and most of the time I hid it from everyone. When you told that story and I found myself in that young girl... it truly changed my life. I was able to address and diagnose what was happening to me which made a world of difference. I sought help and although I know, as you said in a very poignant part of the play, it will never truly go away, I now have a hope that before I had never found.”
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We’re getting some generous contributions! If you’ve give, thank you. If not, we can REALLY use your help. Will you please make a tax deductible contribution today?
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$18,610 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 179 people in 3 months
Funds raised will benefit:
The Marsh: A Breeding Ground for New Performance
  Certified Charity
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San Francisco, CA
EIN: 943142152
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