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Off Broadway


Do It!

Theatre Review by Matthew Murray

As the audience enters the St. Marks Theatre, where Do It! is now playing, they are handed confidential dossiers in manila folders. Two men are sitting on the floor, one with a drum, one with a guitar. A large jar of wine near one corner of the seating area, with a sign inviting you to partake. All the while, the two men entertain with improvised songs, explaining to the audience what the rules of the "concert" are. When the play starts, however, the rules are changed.

A man in a business suit enters from outside and begins addressing the audience, discussing the meaning of memory and making references to his "white history." Before long, we have entered his memory - real or imaginary, it doesn't matter - and witness the events of Jerry Rubin's Yippie revolution of the 1960s. Played out by a small, mostly youthful cast, all the major events are presented; Rubin taking on the HUAC, the Yippies trying to levitate the Pentagon with good vibes, the Festival of Life. Simulated sex, a woman naked except for pink shorts and strategically placed flowers, and a lot of shouting and violence are unquestionably the order of the day.

But what is the sum total of these events? Do It! often seems little more than an excuse for the cast to dress and act like 1960s Yippies. The dossier and some of the other reading material available at the theater suggests that the play was meant to examine the connection between the youth revolution of the 1960s and the possibility of an upcoming revolution as a result of the George W. Bush presidency. That point - if indeed it is the one it is trying to make - never comes across.

If another revolution is on the way, perhaps we are not ready, but Do It! does little to prepare us. The play's method of conception is intriguing, it was developed through the use of the cast's creative exploration, with no one writer being given specific credit, but that method does not guarantee a coherent, entertaining, and thought-provoking show will develop. In the case of Do It!, one most certainly has not.

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The Beggar's Group
Do It!
The St. Marks Theatre, 94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A
Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM
Through April 28
Tickets by donation, $15 donation recommended
(212) 560-2462