I Dig Doug
nytheatre.com review by Amy Lerner
August 12, 2007
For a taste of fresh, absurdly comic social commentary at this years FringeNYC, look no further than I Dig Doug, a satiric romp of a pop culture-obsessed teenager's self-discovery through the 2008 Presidential election. Cheerfully performed by its two writers, Karen DiConcetto and Rochelle Zimmerman, the play cleverly examines the thin line between pop culture and politics.
DiConcetto portrays an unnamed wealthy teenage girl infatuated with celebrity. When she sees a reality television star reveal the façade behind the show, depression takes hold until she finds a new person to idolize. While channel surfing, she comes across a politician named Douglas Ward, and becomes captivated by the world of C-SPAN and policy-making. Her new interest in politics takes her on a road trip with her best friend Nicole to the Iowa caucus, leading to some delightfully ridiculous detours.
DiConcetto has terrific skill at playing a shallow character that could easily get old. She keeps the audience rooting for her character's discoveries as they come. Zimmerman shines playing literally every other character in the play. Her versatility is quite impressive; she is equally hilarious portraying the best friend, a communist hippie, the reality TV star, and a waitress at the Waffle House.
Any moment when I thought that the story might be getting stale, DiConcetto and Zimmerman whipped out a scene more zany than the last, and kept the laughs going strong from beginning to end. A terrific sound design by Mark Huang keeps the energy up before the show and during the somewhat long transitions with his smart, upbeat song choices.
The only down side to this cleverly written show is its immediacy. Its up-to-the minute references to Paris Hilton's jail time, Howard Dean's loss in the 2004 primaries, and more will elude future audiences, while serving as a nice commentary on the current state of our country. The play covers the issues of this election: health care, immigration, gay marriage, and so on, not to mention the myriad recent cultural events that are parodied. In a few years' time, these jokes will have faded, yet we can hope that DiConcetto and Zimmerman will be there with more up their sleeves.
For the sake of its impending datedness, I can only hope that I Dig Doug becomes a FringeNYC success and finds a home after the festival, because audiences deserve a night at the theatre even half as entertaining as this. If there is anyone looking for something to see at this year's Festival, I Dig Doug gets my vote.