The Cloverdale Performing Arts Center is hosting Brian Copeland for his solo play, “The Waiting Period.” The show chronicles Copeland’s own experience with depression and near-attempted suicide.
“People ask us why we are bringing a show about depression and suicide to the performing arts center,” said board member Rod Hammersley, “And we agree it’s a serious subject. But the suicide of a loved one has devastating impacts on families, and this show encourages discussion about a topic that has too long been in the shadows. We need to increase our understanding of depression and learn what we can do to prevent suicide. Brian Copeland bought a gun planning to end his life but during the mandatory 10-day waiting period between buying a gun and being able to pick it up, he changed his mind. He has a lot to say about it, and this show is pure Copeland, deeply moving and surprisingly funny.”
By Copeland’s estimate, more than 10,000 people have seen The Waiting Period and audiences continue to fill the theater. Winner of the 2019 Theater Bay Area Award for Outstanding Production of a Solo Play, this show prompts as many laughs as tears.
Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and while suicide rates are decreasing worldwide, the opposite is true in the U.S., where in some states death by suicide has increased by more than 30% according to the Centers for Disease Control. Life expectancy in the U.S. is decreasing and suicide is a major contributor to this trend. It is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 34. Across our nation more than 20 veterans die by suicide every day and more than half a million LGBTQ youth will attempt suicide this year alone, according to Federal Communications Commission Chairperson, Ajit Pai.
With numbers like these it is not surprising that suicide has affected many members of our own community.
“If you’d asked me five years ago what suicide looks like, I would have said it looks like a middle-aged person who lost their job or was going through a divorce, a veteran with PTSD or someone without a loving family,” said Teresa Elward, of Windsor. “But today, suicide looks like my 16-year-old grandson, Palermo Galindo, a funny and caring student who had just been accepted into an elite engineering program. He loved music and video games and was a boy who was not afraid to hug his mom and sisters in front of his friends. Now, to me suicide looks like an empty seat at the kitchen table, a blank space in our family photos, an un-celebrated birthday every year.”
CPAC board member Kim Ziviani lost a brother to suicide and only after suffering a deep depression herself began to understand how it could have happened.
“Happy people do not understand depression. It is inconceivable to them that anyone could feel so much pain that they would have to end their life to stop that pain,” Ziviani said. “I didn't fully understand it when my own brother took a gun and shot himself at the age of 53, but after my own depression, I understood the warning signs we’d missed. We were wrong to think he needed his privacy. He needed us to hold and guide him, yet we expected him to do it all on his own.”
“Copeland’s play provides us with an important step in understanding a growing problem,” continues Ziviani. “People ask me what the signs are, and how they can make a difference. Don’t turn away from this. See Brian Copeland.”
“The Waiting Period,” one performance only, Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center at 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale CA.
Tickets $35 available online at cloverdaleperformingarts.com; in person at Mail Center, Etc., 207 N. Cloverdale Blvd., 707-894-3222; or at the door if available.