By Dana Zhang
Ed Asner has won seven Primetime Emmy Awards ‑ more than any other male actor ‑ and five Golden Globes. To some, he is best known as the title character of the late‑70s, early‑80s sitcom “Lou Grant.” But he has also touched the lives of younger generations, as the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s “Up.” His 90th birthday will be this November 15th. At the beginning of “A Man and His Prostate,” written by Ed. Weinberger, Mr. Asner hobbles onstage with a cane, the script open on a music stand.
He tells us about the real‑life experience of Mr. Weinberger, whose vacation cruise around the Mediterranean Sea was abruptly halted in Florence, because of a medical emergency having to do with his enlarged prostate. While there are plenty of laughs during the night, the story is not a simple one, but one about “life and death,” as Mr. Asner said. Naturally, the circumstances made a uniquely entertaining tale, all the same.
Detailed descriptions of the lower half of a male anatomy, told delicately and tactfully, abound in the show. The urethra, penis, testes, and especially the prostate make many appearances. These come along with descriptions of farts that sounded like “the sonic booms of overhead jets” and “a Vietnamese lady slurping her noodles,” and other stellar examples of the hardships human bodies go through.
The symptoms of Mr. Weinberger’s condition included not being able to pee, losing fifteen pounds, collapsing in front of the statue of David, and almost experiencing kidney failure. Despite his going in for yearly checkups over the past fifteen years, his doctor “never took the time to stick his finger up my ass!”
At the core of this show is the fear that something in your body will act up at any moment, putting you on the brink of death. “A Man and His Prostate” makes mention of everything from rubber ducks to adult escorts on Easter Sunday, and it all comes together in a tale full of twists and turns. Humorous, and told in excruciating detail ‑ because sometimes you just need to face the full brunt of the truth ‑ “A Man and His Prostate” is just an ordinary tale about a man bumbling around Florence, until he suffers a sudden and near‑fatal attack from his prostate.
It is definitely worth seeing Ed Asner, a legend, perform and have a fun time all around. We were even treated to a slideshow of him at a hospital and a hotel, where scenes from the show took place. Some memorable photos included three female nurses helping him shave his pubic area, and him trying to masturbate while watching porn. If that sounded weird to you, well, it definitely is. But openly discussing these things is the whole point of the show.
“A Man and His Prostate”
Performed by Edward Asner
Written and Produced by Ed. Weinberger
November 1 at 9PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theater Festival
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
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DANA ZHANG is a multimedia journalist versed in editorial, photography, and video editing. She writes about pop culture, the performing arts industry, and the human experience. Zhang graduated from New York University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned at Newsweek Media for a year while in university. Zhang is also an avid gamer and dancer.