Former Local Dramatist Returns Home with 2 Bold Solo Plays and a New Zealand Accent

Photo by Virginia Guy

New Zealand-based Ren Lunicke (formerly Michelle Grube) grew up on San Juan Island part-time, then full-time, then in holiday time, and returns regularly to their home in Roche Harbor. After attending university in neighboring B.C., Canada, they started their professional career with the Island Stage Left, but relationships and opportunities drew them to Seattle for a while and they eventually moved to another little island chain in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand.

Now an award-winning international touring writer/performer, they bring two of their highly entertaining, thought-provoking autobiographical works about identity and belonging as a part of families (Blood Relative) and as part of communities we build for ourselves (“Ze”). This double-bill “home season” has been squeezed into a larger West Coast Tour including Victoria, Langley, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Hawaii.

Zir Productions developed out of “Ze,” as a live performance production company committed to creating connection “beyond all binaries.”

Awards and Nominations:

  • Nominated for the National New Zealand Fringe Development Award 2018
  • 3rd for Artistic Risk Award, Vancouver Fringe 2016
  • Winner – Comedy Award for Best Use of Awkward Silence Toronto Fringe 2016
  • Nominated for Best Comedy FRINGE WORLD Perth, Australia 2016
  • “Lunicke’s voice is nothing but pure, personal, and honest to the point of nakedness. – Plank Magazine
    (more reviews for both shows are included)

Show #1
Blood Relative

Photo by Megan Bowers-Vette

Re-Defining Family Drama: ‘Blood Relative’ Confronts the Power and Limitations of Biological Kinship, and the Potential to Create Reliable Loving Bonds.

Ren ruthlessly exposes the ongoing mythology about biological kinship in their new play BLOOD RELATIVE.

In this dramatic and wry re-telling, Ren narrates and enters into scenes from their life as “Michelle,” a newly married lesbian caught between the modern ideals of a diverse and loving “chosen family,” the normative assertion of a nuclear family, and the ongoing call to connection with ancestors.

While evaluating a painful fertility disease and the possibility of any future children, Michelle receives the call from her right-wing American evangelical mother, that Michelle’s loving grandmother is dying. In the overlapping time of care-taking the last of one generation and the limitations surrounding any future generation, Michelle must decide which definition of family she can depend upon to create family for herself.

Ren looks back with humour and wit to connect, lament, and remember their ongoing journey to ensure that “family will always be there.”

Duration: 70min
Written and Performed by Ren Lunicke
Original Production directed by Stuart Devenie

Warning: Recommended 12+ for dramatic intensity.

Show #2
Award Winning Comedy about Gender, Labels and Identity

“Ze”: queer as ****! had its global premiere in Perth, Australia in 2016, where it was nominated for a Comedy Award, and has since toured New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S. performing to sold-out audiences in every country and winning awards for its unique brand of comedy and level of artistic risk. It now comes to San Juan Island for two nights only.

It is a dark comedy about sex, gender, and the expanding parade of labels and identities Michelle/Ryan (now Ren) claims on zir way to pride. (*ze/zir are gender neutral pronouns)

In this international queer origin story, Michelle/Ryan rips the bandage away from zir startling American Puritan upbringing and is catapulted by zir experiences through a complex and surprising “coming out” process as a genderqueer, kinky, femmesexual, polyminded, gay-divorcée. Along each step of the way ze discovers each new beloved community is at times is just as ridiculous and pigeon-holed as the one ze’s just left.

Part theatre, story-telling, and stand-up, Ren both uses and parodies the labels meant to help an individual embrace their truth in a modern world desperate for definition. “Ze” brings the audience along a rarely told journey of gender fluidity and micro-identities in a PRIDE-worthy celebration that exposes the tension between being authentic to oneself and belonging to one’s community.

Duration: 60min
Written and Performed by Ren Lunicke
Original Production directed by Peter Larsen

Warning: Recommended 18+ for coarse language and explicit sexual reference

*Ren identifies as trans non-binary and so uses they/them or ze/zir pronouns except when referring to their former self pre-transition “she/her.”

Dates & Times:

Both shows play Friday Sept. 6th and Saturday Sept. 7th

Blood Relative at 7:00 pm

“ZE”: queer as ****! at 9:00 pm

San Juan County Fairgrounds – Marie Boe Building
849 Argyle Ave, Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Single Show Price: $10 Students and Seniors
$15 Adults

Double Show Pass: $15 Students and Seniors
$25 Adults

For Reservations, email
Telephone: 360-378-5858
Contact Ren Lunicke, Zir Productions

Posted on August 6, 2018 at 5:45 am by

Categories: Arts, Entertainment
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