Acid Test 1966 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Acid Test 1966

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ACID TEST 1966, Wrecking Crew, at the Holiday Club. I know it's going to ruin my presidential aspirations to say so, but LSD was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Tripping gave me insights into consciousness that I might have attained by other means but not with anywhere near the same, well, special vividness. Suddenly the world was both utterly impersonal and infinitely benign. There was no distinction between abstract and physical, objective and subjective, self and other and--I have to say it--the divine. A taste of pure immanence.

Given the profundity of the experience, it's interesting that psychedelic art is so notoriously bad. Consider it one of God's many little jokes that cosmic liberation can apparently be depicted only in the language of pathetic cliche--the final verse of "Mr. Tambourine Man" excepted.

Acid Test 1966 isn't the show to change that. Set at an LSD party and played out improvisationally for the most part, this evocation of early freakdom traffics in the usual assortment of heads and straights, heavy-lidded initiates and wide-eyed neophytes, without illuminating them. Still, it's got its charms: a tripper trying to find his way down off a chair, a former establishment type sliding smoothly over to the other side--and especially the women of the ensemble performing heavily choreographed, almost embarrassingly sexy dances. The show may have nothing to say, but at least it's a sweet nothing.

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