Theater Review: THE JEWELRY BOX (San Francisco Playhouse)

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by Tony Frankel on December 10, 2020

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area,Virtual


Forgive me dear reader for the terse review, but I discovered something yesterday that turned out to be the holiday present you never expected but later realized it was something you needed quite badly. In this case, it’s a one-man show offered by The San Francisco Playhouse¬†through December 25, 2020. This amazingly heartwarming tale is told by Marsh regular Brian Copeland (Not a Genuine Black Man), who tells the tale of his six-year-old self who’s determined to buy a jewelry box for his mom at Christmas in 1970.

Copeland tells the hour-long story, effortlessly inhabiting other characters (two winos in front of a liquor store are my favorite), in which he searches for odd jobs to make $11.97 for the jewelry box purchase from White Front (remember those?). The impactful evening is made more so by the fact that this child’s determination affects others around him, just like any great holiday story. But what astonishes is how the environs — a bad area of East Oakland inhabited by poor blacks — aren’t necessarily the focus. It’s the universal phenomena — hardship; dauntlessness; renewing strength after adversity; and, above all, kindness — that fuel this absolutely must-not-miss filmed event, graciously directed on the SF Playhouse stage by co-developer and director David Ford. Thank you, Mr. Copeland. This should be compulsory viewing every year next to that Carol thing.

for tickets, call 415-677-9596 or visit SF Playhouse

{ 1 comment }

Nancy K Austin December 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm

Mr. Frankel’s right: this is a buoyant and masterful solo performance by the unrivaled Brian Copeland, the do-not-miss holiday play of this or any season. It’s warm, welcoming, and personal, exactly what a holiday story should be: it lights you up and reassures you that there are reasons to hope. And to believe.

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