Award-winning Ren Lunicke’s captivating one-person ‘Ze’ a candid look at sexuality in American culture

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Review by Bob Rich

On September 16 this reviewer attended the one-person show Ze, in which Ren Lunicke, whose gender identity is trans non-binary, shares memorable experiences from life, raising important questions related to freedom, tolerance and acceptance. The show is for mature audiences, due to its focus on sexuality.

Ren is coming hot off the heels of the Victoria Fringe Festival with an award for “Bravest Show” of 2018 for Blood Relative.

In Ze, Ren candidly talks about sexuality in American culture, Ren’s mother teaching sex education in a school classroom, the family’s reaction to Ren’s lifestyle and personal relationships.

Impressively, Ren makes the show entertaining by dealing with these delicate topics through the lens of humor. Occasionally, the humor is offset with moments of profound reflection. Throughout the show, the tone is sincere and the storytelling is vivid, keeping us captivated.

The set is rather simple, putting the attention on Ren as our performer recounts life experiences. From a small box on the floor, Ren sometimes pulls out props, such as articles of clothing or confetti, to bring moments from the past tangibly to life as they are acted out.

Ze challenges us to reflect on the benefits of trying to treat people well regardless of their way of life. In one scene, Ren performs on a xylophone, asking us to imagine if life experiences could somehow be translated into melodies and chords. During this scene, it occurred to me that, if we could try a little harder to appreciate people for who they are, we might perhaps hear a trace of the “music” they have to offer.

“Ze” by Ren Lunicke was showcased on September 15 and 16 at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. Visit ZirProductions.com for more information.

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