Brian Copeland's The Scion is a dark solo Performance
about the San Leandro sausage factory killings.
I first saw Brian Copeland at a comedy night in Marin, he is a polished stand up and of course many of us know him from his KGO Sunday talk shows. The first one man show I caught was THE WAITING PERIOD at the Marsh in San Francisco. I was impressed with the fact that Copeland is such a master of his craft, and he captivates his audience who were in tears for most of his performance. Brian's grim tale in SCION, is very different from his past works, since it's not based on one of his personal stories. Copeland returns to the Alameda Altarena Playhouse for a special two weekend run through June 27th. The sold out opening night audience were on the edge of their seats for this East Bay Premiere of Copland's fourth solo show.
To construct this solo show, Brian Copeland returns to his hometown San Leandro's true crime headline, telling the grimm story about the 2000 Santos Sausage Factory murders. He tells us about the one time San Leandro Mayor candidate, Stuart Alexander, scion of a sausage dynasty. Alexander the factory owner, gunned down three government inspectors, and chases a fourth outside his San Leandro Factory. Not only did Alexander shoot and kill these Government employees, but he also video taped the horror that clearly shows him slaughtering these folks, with the hope the video would vindicate him, and prove to the court that he was being harassed.
SCION is more than the tail of murder in his home town, it is Copeland's take on race, the privileged, city red tape, and bugs on our windshield. His wit and script proves he is one of the best storytellers and philosophers alongside Josh Kornbluth. As with his other work he takes on the persona of many characters and players in the telling of the Linguisa murders, and he is excellent as always.
Longtime friend and collaborator David Ford directed this 90 minute performance. Copeland and Ford use court records and police documents to help tell this story of privilege. Interviews from victims and people who knew Alexander as a reckless college student and San Leandro cow killer, to show a pattern of violence that goes back to his teen days. Ford's construction mixes the tragic moments with a nice dose of comedy with perfect timing. As with his past works Copeland is a master at mixing current political headlines “Obamacare is slavery” cut with “Trayvon Martin” and the darker aspects of the American Dream and is able to create a very entertaining evening.
A powerful moment is a bit Copeland does on his own privileged life, as he tells the tale of the free hot dogs and beer given him at a Giants game because the cashier recognized him. He remembers a time when he could not afford a stadium priced snack, but of course now he can well afford it. As he gets it for free he ponders “Why do we give special privileges to those who don’t need it”. As the story comes to an end, Alexander attempted to tell the courts it was the meat inspectors at fault and he was provoked. During the trial it is was clear the SCION of sausage felt he was above the law. Copeland uses an excellent metaphor to frame the evening "Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug — and we've got to do better for those folks who are always the bug." when privilege goes unchecked.
Brian Copeland excellent SCION has one more weekend at the Alameda stage, he then returns Sundays beginning June 28th to perform THE WAITING PERIOD. He will perform this important solo show about his bout of depression on Sunday evenings through August 9th with special 5.00 tickets for youth.
Altarena Playhouse presents
written and performed by Brian Copeland,
developed by Brian Copeland and David Ford,
Directed by David Ford
June 19-20, 26-27; Fridays & Saturdays 8pm
1409 High St., Alameda, convenient to public transit
TICKET PRICES: $40 at the door. Tickets
available at www.altarena.org, (510) 523-1553