Scott Barry’s ‘Rise’ has ups and downs 

click to enlarge Scott Barry’s funny and provocative new solo show is “Rise.” - COURTESY DAVID ALLEN
  • COURTESY DAVID ALLEN
  • Scott Barry’s funny and provocative new solo show is “Rise.”
Life gets messy and then erectile dysfunction happens.

For playwright, screenwriter and performer Scott Barry, the two make creative bedfellows in “Rise,” his one-man show opening Friday at Exit Theatre in The City.

The new comedy, based on Barry’s own life, covers varied aspects of his middle-age brouhaha, from self-doubt and prescription drug phobia to bitter ex-girlfriends and a loving new beau.

His backstory is engaging.

“I was in my 40s and wondering about my life when I met a woman whom I fell madly in love with. And I thought that would be the end to my ‘happy’ story. But then I was hit with erectile dysfunction and that sent me into a deeper tailspin and panic, and I spent the next year working through all of that on a number of levels,” says Barry, who previously appeared in “Solo Gig Squared,” a piece about his time as a draft-pick for the San Francisco 49ers.

Moving toward the very thing that was causing him angst proved revealing.

He says, “What I discovered was that I felt impotent in multiple levels of my life — financially, where I was living, and more. After that year, I revisited a show I had written and added the E.D. part. I was reluctant to do it, but I did it anyway.”

After workshopping the show in Los Angeles and Sacramento, Barry realized he had something “there.”

He says, “From a story point of view, it was compelling and I wondered why people weren’t talking about E.D. And then I noticed my resistance again. I thought, ‘I don’t want to talk about E.D. I don’t want to be the limp-dicked guy.’ I remember what happened to Bob Dole.”

But those initial doubts added fuel to the show, which is directed by Joshua Townshend-Zellner.

“I love doing this work,” Barry says. “This show has a lot of ups and downs — no pun intended — some good laughs and maybe a cry. But at the end of the day, it’s my hope that we can all learn something about each other.”

IF YOU GO

Rise

Where: EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; closes May 23

Tickets: $15 to $20

Contact: www.risetheplay.com

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Greg Archer

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