Solo Performer Spotlight

Special Series Edition

Mark McGoldrick

COUNTERCOUP

A Life, Redux

Written and performed by Mark McGoldrick
Immediately followed by a Q&A/talkback with
Founder/Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman

4 part series – 1st weekend of each month May – August, 2021
Saturdays at 7:30pm PT & Sundays at 5:00pm PT

Registration Required

May 1 & 2, 2021 / June 5 & 6, 2021 / July 3 & 4, 2021 / August 7 & 8, 2021

As Assistant Public Defender for Alameda County, Mark McGoldrick has defended poor people, mostly of color, in the criminal courts for over 25 years. In the early 1980s, as a barely-in control teenager, he broke many bones, including his neck, and has navigated the world as a paralyzed person since.  The journey has taken him from juvenile delinquency to Harvard Law School, and on to representing people charged with those same offenses of his earlier days.  His stories draw from these worlds, exploring people on the fringes.  

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Series by Month

I: Riding for a FallMay 1 & 2, 2021
We meet a headstrong youth, determined to push away caring loved ones and do what he wants, regardless of consequences.  How many times do you have to break your hands on other people’s heads before you realize it’s just not working?

II: Close to the Edge June 5 & 6, 2021
Having raised the stakes each time he got in trouble, our main character finally messes up so greatly his very existence is in peril.  A serious accident leaves life in the balance, with a broken skull, spine, and a bunch of other stuff.  Now what?

III: Now, The Hard PartJuly 3 & 4, 2021
The Rehab Hospital.  After months in a primary care hospital, an exploration of the next phase:  three months of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, where friendships are forged as a small cohort of broken bodies recycle themselves into people who can live in the world anew.

IV: The Journey with JimAugust 7 & 8, 2021
On the outside, learning to navigate life using a wheelchair, our main character pushes progresses and backslides, trying to maintain connection with his rehab buddy who just can’t get it together.

About the Performer

Mark McGoldrick started performing publicly with A Public Defense, a collection of short spoken-word pieces about the people who populate the world of indigent criminal defense. His first full-length show was The Golden Hammer which made its first appearance at The Marsh San Francisco in 2005, and reprised at The Berkeley Marsh in 2016.   

The Golden Hammer was a flowing narrative, throwing the audience backward and forward through time, bringing to life a 1980s juvenile negotiating a precarious relationship with a predatory adult and a present-day an Oakland public defender fighting caprice in criminal courts, wondering how often and badly the legal system botches the  job.   

Of The Golden Hammer, the San Francisco Guardian wrote, McGoldrick “wins over his audience with unpretentious charm and quiet intelligence. . . . With ready humor and relaxed bonhomie, he regales and unsettles us with the personal, professional, and ethical conundrums that arise, while ultimately eschewing any pat response.”  

The Golden Hammer was followed with another critically acclaimed show, Countercoup in 2007.  Countercoup was a largely biographical show covering the turbulent teen-aged years before and following an accident that broke his neck, and relaunched his life into an exploration of disability.

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