Judge, Yuri, & Executioner
nytheatre.com review by Judith Jarosz
February 23, 2012
Zack, an 85 year old man who’s into sexual games of the S & M category, has been dumped by his slightly older girlfriend for a “younger” (79) man. This is a recipe for humor that sometimes succeeds in this quirky hour-long monologue written by Ed Malin. As the piece begins, the man enters with a rope around his neck, intending to commit suicide. He has a small hand recorder into which he dictates a suicide message to his lost love, but as he reminisces about their antics over the many years that they were together, he decides that life is still worth living. Verbally backtracking through the years of his life, we learn of his first discoveries as a boy of his tendencies toward rough sex, and ride the voyage of his life up to now. The ride is wild, and includes a child session with a dominatrix, a stint as a priest, and more discoveries with a nude model from an art class. It is mostly varied and amusing thanks to Malin’s writing, which is dense and textured and keeps things interesting enough that the hour running time feels shorter than it is.
Zack is played by Mac Rogers, who is clearly not a senior. With his pudgy physique and apple-round face Rogers reads like a middle-aged Baby Huey, and with the exception of one solitary moment of stiff joints, makes no attempt at playing any sort of physical indication of his age. I wondered why he was cast rather than a more age-appropriate actor, and if some of the possible humor was lost by this choice.
That being said, Rogers has a warm and upbeat likable energy that keeps us listening. Direction by DeLisa M. White on the mostly empty stage is clear and understated, choosing to let the writing speak for itself. No lighting, set or costume credits are given.
This subject matter is not for everyone, and the piece gets a bit graphic at times for some, but I would be interested in seeing more of Malin’s work.