Lord Zedd Karate Chops Power Ranger Biography

Sarp Yavuz, Staff Writer

“Villains are disposable because they don’t have to develop,” the evil Lord Zedd says to David Yost, the actor who played the blue Power Ranger, during one scene from College junior Nick Parlato’s Lord Zedd or Treatment. Suppressing the urge to roll my eyes at the umpteenth thesis statement that would remain untouched and unmentioned for the rest of the show, I realized that the same could be said of the play. Like the title character himself, Lord Zedd — a reimagining of Yost’s post-Power Rangers mental breakdown — does not develop beyond an initially strong concept.

As Yost, College sophomore Whitman Schorn bore the heavy burden of playing a man with mental problems. Incarcerated in an insane asylum, Schorn’s character goes back and forth between speaking as Billy, the teenage character he played on the ’90s television series Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and David, the actor. In the play, Yost’s mental breakdown stems from his frustration with being merely one of the “faces” of the Power Rangers we saw on TV, and not one of the stunt performers acting out the fighting scenes; he also suffers from a fear of Lord Zedd, played by College senior Tristan Haller.

Although Schorn often struggled with the difficult task of playing a man who has suffered a nervous breakdown, his flirtatious interactions with best friend Amy Jo Johnson (aka the Pink Power Ranger, played by College sophomore Lizzie Roberts), are nonetheless quite convincing. Roberts’s warm attitude and sincere smile provided a counterbalance to the dark mood of the play, a mood that was enhanced by the bleak lighting of Warner basement.

With his incredible persona and strong acting, College senior Haller stole the show as the title character Lord Zedd, another figment of Yost’s imagination. Talented College first-year Marjolaine Goldsmith countered Haller’s ominous presence as Monica, a chirpy, intriguing nurse who often speaks of metaphysics.

In terms of production design, the projected Power Rangers video sequences that Parlato incorporated into the show were engaging, as was a dubbed image of Power Rangers wizard Zordon as one of the hospital’s doctors. Ultimately, however, the show is filled with similarly great ideas that just stand too far apart from each other to create a coherent whole, resulting in a narrative that feels like a combination of a preschool game of house and a conversation between friends that begins with, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if…?!”

In spite of a fractured narrative, the script features some surprisingly strong dialogue, such as Yost’s references to Plato’s cave (although Parlato could have dealt with the script’s numerous references to philosophy either more or less directly) and a lighthearted yet loaded conversation with quirky Mr. Karate (College sophomore Robert Salazar), the Blue Ranger’s Zen-like stunt double, who is also a figment of Yost’s imagination.

Overall, despite some strong performances, Lord Zedd or Treatment fell victim to a poorly constructed plot that ended abruptly: During the final moments of the play, Yost decides to fight his fears by painting a Z (for Zedd) on his punching bag. Overnight, he attacks it; by morning, he has made great progress with his treatment. This brief period of healing disappears by the play’s finale: After Amy announces that she is moving to Canada with her boyfriend, Yost attacks her and paints a Z on her hand.

Ultimately, the play left me wanting a more satisfying ending than the abrupt physical confrontation between David and Amy. Having said that, the haunting image of Schorn’s face remains in my mind’s eye; perhaps, like Yost and Lord Zedd themselves, Lord Zedd or Treatment just needs a little more time to develop.