Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Acid Test" ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

If you ever knew anything, or read anything, or heard anything about Ram Dass, you will probably love Lynn Kaufman's "Acid Test," an eighty-minute performance triumph for actor Warren David Keith. Kaufman and Keith tell the story of 60's icon Richard Alpert, scion of a wealthy family and tenured professor at Harvard at age 29. Alpert meets Timothy Leary, discovers hallucinogenics and the game is up. He travels to India, meets a guru and is given the name Ram Dass, which means "servant of God." Ram Dass's books, lectures and insightful phrases become desktop images for a generation, before there were desktops.

The one in my mind right now, on November 16, is: "If you think you are enlightened, go home for Thanksgiving."

Warren David Keith is so very good. The only way this reviewer would know for sure that he is NOT the actual Ram Dass, is that author Kaufman was holding court after the show and told a trusted associate she and Keith are heading to Hawaii to perform the show for Ram Dass himself, who has lived there since his stroke in the 1990s.

There are wonderful stories here -- the vignettes about the acid-laced baseball game in Mexico, everything about Ram Dass's father, and, of course, his jabs at Andrew Weill are all standouts.

RATINGS: ☼   ☼   ☼  ☼

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards "Acid Test" Four Stars. It is an unforgettable show about an unforgettable man, with acting, writing and directing all hitting the mark.

"Acid Test"
The Marsh Berkeley
2120 Allston Way, Berkeley
EXTENDED Through January 5
$15-$35 sliding scale

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