Ren Lunicke – “Ze”: Queer as f*ck
Have you ever been forced into an uncomfortable, labelled box where you do not belong, and the label doesn’t apply? Well Michelle/Ryan has, and ze is not happy about it.
“Ze” is a gender-neutral pronoun corresponding to “she” or “he.” [The possessive form of the pronoun is “zir” (“his” or “hers”) and the reflexive form is “zirself” (“herself “ or “himself”).
In this solo performance Michelle/Ryan takes us on an exploration of zir femme/masc history; being in, coming out; getting married, getting divorced.
Ze explores the tension between a Christian upbringing and queerness. Michelle/Ryan once tried to “pray the gay away” and ended up doing something naughty while reciting The Lord’s Prayer.
Ze also opened up about getting married to zir wife, the onset of Lesbian Bed Death, and being abandoned by zir wife when ze suggested “opening” up their marriage.
Also about the irony of being excluded from zir Christian family for not fitting into the “normal” box, and then of being shunned by the queer community for not fitting into the “lesbian” box when they discovered that Ryan enjoys pegging guys.
The show itself was also non-binary, sliding back and forth along a sort of Kinsey scale between comedy and pathos, shame and pride. Unamplified, and in the intimate setting of Rigby’s, ze was able to shout at and whisper to the small crowd.
The form of the show included stand-up, yoga, gymnastics and juggling. There was some audience participation, including a segment where ze handed out harmonicas and kazoos to the audience, then took to the xylophone and led the audience on a tour of the Kinsey scale using notes of the scale as a metaphor.
What fun! (And someone in the audience actually knew how to play the harmonica.) Those of you who are questioning your gender identity would find strength in zir courageous journey.
Those of you who do not question your gender or sexuality, whatever it may be, might find some understanding and admiration for someone who fought zir way out of the labelled box.